Michigan’s distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine

Jessica Orlando, Reporter

With the beginning of a new year, residents in Michigan remain anxious for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Among those residents are the students and faculty at Oakland University who remain hopeful in receiving the vaccine in the upcoming 2021 year. However, students wonder when exactly they can expect a vaccine. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is supported by a number of pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Janssen and Novavax. Three types were available to the public: RNA, protein subunit or vector-based vaccines. All types of the vaccine require more than one shot in order for it to be the most effective against COVID-19. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services followed strict Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines when a plan to administer the vaccine to the residents of Michigan was created. 

The plan aimed to achieve efficiency, effectiveness and equity. The COVID-19 vaccine implementation schedule aimed to distribute in two phases. 

Phase 1A targeted all health care workers and long-term care residents and staff. Phase 1B was centered around age groups 75 and above, frontline state and federal responders, school and childcare faculty, corrections staff and other essential frontline workers. 

Group 1C targeted age groups from 65-74, age groups from 16-64 with pre-existing conditions and all remaining essential workers. Lastly, phase two consisted of age groups 16-64 not yet covered in phase one. 

Oakland County received a total of 7,800 doses of the vaccine, and 5,600 of those doses have been administered. Availability for the vaccine is limited to appointment in every county in Michigan. 

The Graham Health Center (GHC) at Oakland University is the central hub for all coronavirus monitoring and campus health safety. 

“The distribution of the vaccine would be followed according to the CDC guidelines to our campus community,” said Nancy Jansen, ANP-BC Director of the Graham Health Center. 

Following those CDC guidelines would mean that priority healthcare staff, faculty 75 and older at OU and health compromised people would receive the vaccine first. 

Some of Jansen’s staff at the Graham Health Center have already been vaccinated by appointment at the local Health Department. 

“Some of my staff was vaccinated by luck because we called at the right time,” Jansen said. The rest of the groups considered to be in phase two would receive the vaccine on a first come first serve basis. 

The GHC had to be approved by the state in order to potentially receive vaccines. 

“The application was ten pages long and we had to give a lot of detailed answers about what type of health center we are, how many flu vaccines we usually provide, the model number of the freezers in which the vaccine would be stored in, who does our facility service, and the names as well as titles of our staff,” Jansen said. 

The guidelines are very similar to a lot of other vaccines available at OU, and logs are kept in order to monitor the quality and state of the vaccines. 

Jansen approximated sometime in March, OU could receive doses of the vaccine for distribution. 

“I am ready for the vaccine,” Jansen said. “We were approved and we have all the necessary equipment, so we could start vaccinating within 48 hours of receiving it.”

To learn more about the Michigan and CDC guidelines, students can visit the Michigan COVID-19 page. To learn more about the vaccine itself, students can visit the CDC page. Also, if students wish to be informed about COVID-19 updates at OU, students can visit the Graham Health Center’s tab on the OU webpage.