PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — The first 1,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech arrived Thursday at the Oakland County Health Division.
According to the county, initial vaccinations will begin by appointment only on Friday, Dec. 18 in Waterford for emergency medical service (EMS) personnel who have indirect or direct exposure to patients and to help keep emergency response systems open and functioning in Oakland County.
“Our Health Division is ready to assist in the vaccination of Oakland County residents as we celebrate the remarkable science that got us to this turning point in defeating this dangerous pandemic,” County Executive David Coulter said. “Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all our residents and workers. We remain determined to follow science and public health, share information on the safety of the vaccine and keep our guard up against the virus.”
Vaccinations for EMS workers will continue in the coming days at various locations. The Health Division is coordinating with EMS companies and fire departments to stagger doses among their employees. The Health Division also is offering the vaccine to its public health nurses who will be vaccinating EMS workers and eventually other members of the public at the county’s drive-thru locations when it becomes available to the general public.
“This is the start of phase one of our vaccine distribution plan which aligns with the requirements of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford said. “This vaccine has been tested safely on tens of thousands of volunteers and has shown to be effective."
The Health Division expects to receive its next round of doses sometime after the first of the year.
As of Dec. 16, Oakland County has had nearly 50,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,400 deaths since its first confirmed case last March. The seven-day case average for Oakland County is 398 cases per day which remains higher than the peak of the first wave of cases in the spring, even as the number of cases is trending downward due to the State of Michigan’s pause to save lives.