Millions more eligible for vaccine, but many can’t get it

State health officials have expanded who is allowed to receive the COVID vaccine in Michigan. But many health departments don't have the supplies to comply.

Last week Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state was moving forward plans to expand who has access to the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan.

On Monday, that plan goes into effect, moving the state into Phase 1B of vaccine distribution. That means essential workers like teachers and police officers, as well as people age 65 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

However, just because they are eligible doesn’t mean there are enough supplies of the vaccine to go around. Kalamazoo County’s health department last week announced that it was continuing with only Phase 1A inoculations for the next few weeks. Phase 1A includes frontline health care workers, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.

Part of the problem is uncertainty over when local health departments are set to receive doses of the vaccine. As of Friday, Kalamazoo County had more than 20,000 doses of the vaccine of which it had only used 34%. However, they hadn’t received any new vaccine since Tuesday and many existing doses are likely reserved for upcoming appointments.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that both currently available vaccines require two doses spaced 21 days apart. Facilities must have vaccine on hand for those second doses.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

The average story costs NowKalamazoo $400 to produce. Donate to fund stories like this.