Genesee County prepares for COVID-19 vaccine deliveries



GENESEE COUNTY — The Genesee County Health Department has selected six school districts to serve as potential COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites.

Last week, the Genesee County Board of Commissioners tentatively approved a memorandum of agreement between the health department and Flint, Davison, Flushing, Grand Blanc, Lake Fenton and Mt. Morris schools, which will enable each district to host vaccination pod sites once COVID-19 vaccines become available to the general public.

As part of the agreement, the school districts would act as drive-thru dispensing locations for the vaccines.

Suzanne Cupal, Public Health Division Director for the Genesee County Health Department, said that each of the selected school districts have plenty of outdoor space for vaccine distribution and ease of access for residents.

“As we’ve done with COVID-19 testing, the outdoor drive-thru format is the safest, best way to protect everyone and distribute the vaccines,” she said. “All six school sites are a good fit for those operations and have been inspected and approved by the county health department and our emergency operations partners at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.”

Cupal said that doctor’s offices, colleges and universities and large pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS will also serve as future distribution sites.

According to state health officials, COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive for the general public by late spring.

Meanwhile, vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will soon be available for frontline health workers, including EMS, ICU personnel and emergency room staff. Cupal said that the Pfizer vaccine could arrive as soon as next week to the county’s McLaren, Hurley and Ascensions Genesys hospital systems.

Public health professionals, doctors, first responders—along with high-risk individuals such as elderly patients in long term care facilities—would be next in line to receive vaccines.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be administered in two doses spread over a period of several weeks.

As the vaccination delivery dates draw closer, Cupal said that residents should continue to practice mask-wearing, social distancing and rigorous hand washing/sanitary practices to prevent further spread of COVID- 19. She also said that everyone should consider getting a flu shot, so that the county’s health systems don’t become overwhelmed with both COVID and flu patients.

“We know the vaccine is coming, but it will take many months before it gets here (for the general public),” she said. “These are the things we must do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus.”

The Genesee County Health Department will be posting updates to its website as mass vaccination becomes available and distribution sites open. Visit gchd.us to see updates and the latest information regarding COVID-19 vaccines.