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Local hospitals respond to vaccine shortage as Trump administration releases stockpiled vaccines

vaccine
Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:02:00-05

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ)  — This week the state opened up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to more people. At the same time, medical systems say they are being forced to close down appointment scheduling for people newly eligible because they just don’t have the vaccines to give them.

Could changes announced today by the Trump administration help? There are pros and cons and lives on the line.

68-year-old Diane Rundell got her first COVID-19 shot Tuesday through Beaumont Health. She is grateful to be eligible.

“I’m a grandmother of eight. Does anything else have to be said? And being so, and I even hate to say that, but being so afraid. Even when I couldn’t stand it anymore, we had Christmas in the backyard, so I got to see the kids,” she said when talking about what getting the vaccine meant to her.

She now is looking forward to more time with grandchildren without fear.

“To get back to really being able to love, I guess,” she said.

“We asked for 35,000 doses and we got 7,000, so nowhere close,” said Carolyn Wilson, Beaumont Health COO.

Wilson says still Beaumont Health got enough to schedule some new first dose appointments for those newly eligible. Michigan Medicine says it did not.

Dr. Sandro Cinti, Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Michigan Medicine, said he is glad to see expanded eligibility because they have the infrastructure, even though supply is lacking.

“It is difficult to stop that because now we have vaccine centers ready to go and we don’t have vaccines other than second doses,” he said.

The Trump Administration has held second doses at Pfizer until the time came for them to be administered about 3 weeks after the first shot. On Tuesday it announced it will allow them to be shipped, something Governor Gretchen Whitmer and President-Elect Joe Biden recently called for.

The big pro is the change will allow hospitals and health departments to get vaccines to give more quickly.

The big con is the risk of manufacturing not keeping up leading to logistical challenges.

“I think we can manage it if we get vaccine. We would like to get as much vaccine as we can to be able to give it out to the populations we are vaccinating. We would be fine with getting more vaccine. If we need to figure out first and second doses, I think we can do that,” said Dr. Cinti.

Health systems say they are sending invites to established patients when they have vaccines available. For more information on where you can try to find vaccines go to https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_103214---,00.html.