COVID-19 Vaccine Information
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Want the COVID-19 Vaccine?If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine and are in Phase 1A or Phase 1B, please complete the appropriate form below:
If you are 65 OR OLDER and are interested in being placed on the vaccine waitlist, please complete this form. We will be in touch with you to let you know when there are vaccine appointments available for you. Please be patient; vaccine appointment availability is subject to the vaccine supply.
If you are a health care worker or part of the health care system in Phase 1A, please complete this form.
If you are an employer of essential employees in Phase 1B, please complete this intake form. Note: this intake form is indicated for employers to complete on behalf of their business/organization's employees, not by individual people within an organization. We will schedule vaccinations for essential employees through their employer.
We will contact you with more information and instructions for making an appointment. Please do not complete the form more than once. Those completing this pre-registration or indicating interest on the waitlist should expect that appointments may not be available for several weeks. Therefore, we encourage everyone to be patient as we prepare for the upcoming vaccination phases.
COVID-19 Vaccines: Hope is on the Horizon
A COVID-19 vaccine will be critical in slowing the spread of the virus and helping our community recover from the pandemic. Stopping this pandemic will take us using all our tools: handwashing, masks, social distancing, and now, our newest tool of a vaccine to prevent the virus. Taken together, these tools offer the best chance of getting our community, schools, and businesses back to normal as soon as possible. Please remember, we will all need to keep using prevention strategies until enough of our community has received the vaccine.
A Phased Approach to Distribution
Now that the vaccines have been approved for use, the Berrien County Health Department is working with State and local agencies, area hospitals, pharmacies, and other partners to implement the MDHHS plan for a phased approach to distribution. Because quantities of the vaccine are still very limited — and will be for the foreseeable future — this approach follows CDC guidelines and prioritizes the highest-risk populations for severe COVID-19 illness due to risk factors or exposure due to occupation.
While timing of distribution is not yet certain and depends, largely, on vaccine supplies, vaccinations for individuals included in Phase 1A have been underway since late December 2020. Individuals in Phases 1B will be prioritized for vaccination in early January 20201, followed by Phase 1C who could expect vaccines by mid-spring. Individuals in Phase 2 can expect to be eligible by mid-2021. Michigan has set an initial operational goal of vaccinating 70% of people age 16 years of age and older, or about 5.6 million people, for COVID-19 by the end of 2021.
VACCINE STATUS IN BERRIEN COUNTY
LATEST UPDATES AS OF 1-11-21:
The Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland are working collaboratively to provide COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to all those who are eligible and interested throughout the community. While cooperative planning for vaccination has been underway for months, as of January 11th, 2021, both agencies are began offering limited vaccine appointments to those in the next phase of eligibility that had been announced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services last week. Because quantities of the vaccine are still very limited — and will be for the foreseeable future — the joint approach prioritizes the highest-risk populations for severe COVID-19 illness due to risk factors, such as age, or exposure due to occupation.
To reach the populations in these next phases, particularly those over the age of 65, and schedule them for vaccine appointments, the Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) and Spectrum Health Lakeland will be working from cross-referenced waiting lists of those who have expressed interest in getting the vaccine. In addition, both agencies are targeting essential workers by coordinating directly with employers and other partner agencies to reach senior centers, homebound individuals, and those at higher vulnerability. At this time, clinics operated by both Spectrum Heath Lakeland and BCHD are by appointment only and are not open to the general public.
Community members should not call their health care provider’s office for vaccination scheduling or show up at the Health Department anticipating getting their vaccination without an appointment. The most efficient way to indicate interest in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is to complete the pre-registration wait list available on the Berrien County Health Department website (for those over the age of 65 and employers of essential workers) or complete the survey available via Lakeland MyChart located under “questionnaires” in the My Record section. People are encouraged to assist family and friends without internet access or email with the online pre-registration and waitlist process if possible.
The Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland will be using these wait lists as the primary means of confirming eligibility and notifying community members when they are able to schedule a vaccination. Please note: completing either vaccine survey does not mean individuals will be scheduled for an appointment immediately. Vaccine supplies are continue to be limited and are allocated to Berrien County by the state week by week. Both Spectrum Health Lakeland and the Health Department are asking for continued patience as planning is ongoing and appointment availability continues to expand.
Who is currently being vaccinated? (Last Updated 1/11/21)
At this time, subject to vaccine availability, BCHD is scheduling vaccination appointments for:
- All individuals in Phase 1A, which includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home as well as residents in long-term care facilities.
- Some individuals in Phase 1B who are in Group A and Group B. This includes:
- Group A: Persons 75 years of age or older not covered in Phase 1A. This includes those in a congregate setting that were not reached in Phase 1A. (Those over the age of 65 are also now eligible for vaccinations based on updated MDHHS guidelines - see below chart for more detail).
- Group B: Prioritized frontline workers whose work role has frequent or intense exposure, and, due to the nature of the work, are not able to maintain social distance. The specific prioritized categories are:
- Pre-Kindergarten through high school teachers, support staff and child care workers who usually have direct contact with children
- First responders not covered in Phase 1A (e.g., firefighters, police, conservation officers, inspectors)
- Corrections workers (e.g., staff in prisons, jails, juvenile justice facilities)
- Workers in homeless shelters, congregate child care institutions, and adult and child protective services
If you do not fall within the above categories, you will be eligible in a future phase. We’ll continue to update this site with information on who is eligible for vaccination.
What does this mean for me?
Please be patient. Initial vaccine supplies are expected to be small, but should be consistently be shipped to our community. But, it will still take weeks or months to move through each of the phases of the distribution plan. We are working quickly to provide more detailed information as it becomes available.
At this point, we don’t know how long it will take to move through the phases of distribution or what quantities of vaccine will be received at what time. We expect that as greater supplies become available, vaccine will become more available to the public. By mid-year, it is expected that vaccines will be available through local health departments, area pharmacies, and through your health care provider.