Macomb County prepares to serve as COVID-19 vaccine hub

Vaccine test
Posted at 6:02 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 18:16:58-05

(WXYZ) — The federal government has allocated an initial 84,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Michigan. Those will go to places prepared to store it at -70 to -80 degrees Celsius.

Macomb County announced today they will be a vaccine storage hub, also sharing how they’ve prepared to administer the vaccines and continue COVID-19 testing throughout the winter.

A rising tide lifts all ships … it’s a saying that holds more true now than ever in the Great Lakes state, this 10th month of the pandemic.

“Over 30 percent of our residents actually work in Macomb County so we always have carried that message,” says Jeff Bohm, the chair of St Clair County’s Board of Commissioners.

“It’s so important for St. Clair County that Macomb County does well,” says Bohm.

Today Macomb County announced a drive-thru indoor winter COVID-19 testing site at Baker College in Clinton Township. It will be open Monday through Friday 9 am - 3 pm, no appointment or doctor's note required. The site has the capability to test 800 people a day, starting next week.

Also next week, Macomb County expects to receive its first batch of Pfizer vaccines, but the health department warns, the public will have to wait their turn.

“The demand for the vaccine is going to be a lot more than the supply initially,” says Bill Ridella, M.P.H., M.B.A., the Director of the Macomb County Health Department.

“The allotment that we’re getting is specific to EMS personnel,” says Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

“So about 1800 EMS personnel and we’re getting about a thousand vials,” says Hackel.

Hackel emphasizes the vaccine is not required but federal or local law, but those who do wish to take it will have to wait their turn.

The Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at -70 to -80 degrees Celsius and Hackel says Macomb County has plenty of room.

“We have 3 freezers now and we are anticipating 2 more. So we can handle whatever they decide they want to give us,” says Hackel.

Those specialized freezers aren’t cheap and many smaller counties can’t afford them.

So Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel offered to be a hub for neighboring counties Lapeer, Sanilac, and St Clair.

“If they get an allotment, we can handle their storage,” says Hackel.

Which means because those counties have somewhere to store the vaccines, they are now eligible to receive them.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate that and thank you from the bottom of my heart,” says St Clair County’s Board of Commissioners chair, Jeff Bohm.

Macomb doesn’t know how soon they will receive additional batches of the Pfizer vaccine or how big future batches will be, but they do know more vaccines are coming and they are preparing now by securing & setting up locations and hiring medical staff.

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