Flint Township View

County addresses change in vaccine distribution

GENESEE COUNTY — County officials are optimistic that recent changes to nationwide COVID-19 vaccine distribution will help reach vulnerable populations in Genesee County.

Dr. Pamela Hackert, Medical Health Officer for Genesee County, announced on Jan. 26 that the federal government is rolling out a new distribution system based on population numbers and the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) social vulnerability index. According to Hackert, vaccine distribution will be adjusted for a given area based on factors such as household composition, minority status, housing density and transportation accessibility for residents.

Hackert said that the population-based distribution metric should be advantageous for Genesee County, which is the state’s fourth most populous county.

“This is something we can hopefully use to get more vaccines to our county compared to a more affluent area,” she said. “We are anticipating that we’ll get some (vaccine) numbers a little faster…within a week or two in terms of turnaround.”

Hackert said that 30,000 residents have preregistered for the vaccine, giving the county a broader pool of appointments to work with and making it easier for the health department to prioritize vulnerable groups for vaccination.

The county is still in phase 1B of vaccine distribution, which is targeted for individuals 65 and older, first responders and critical infrastructure workers. Over 4,000 residents have been vaccinated so far, and the county has bumped its weekly vaccination rate to over 3,500 people.

Although the county continues to face a vaccine shortage, county officials anticipate that deliveries will be ramping up soon. To help keep up with demand, the county is planning to hire 24 to 30 people to help make calls and set up vaccination appointments.

Once a person preregisters for a vaccine, their name and information will be added to a county database for prioritization purposes. The county will notify residents when a vaccine becomes available for them.

To preregister for a COVID-19 vaccine, visit the county’s official website, gc4me.com.