Health department lays out protocols for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

GENESEE COUNTY — As the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccines begin to arrive in Michigan, the Genesee County Health Department is establishing parameters for vaccine distribution.

According to the health department, current COVID-19 vaccines that are scheduled for distribution to the public are only approved for people 18 years of age and older. The immunization department will be following standard protocol for distributing the vaccine, which includes: written consent by the person 18 years of age and older, along with providing the required information about the vaccine and any side effects that may occur.

When vaccines become available for children, the Genesee County Health Department wants to ensure that standard protocols are followed, including the requirement to have a parent or guardian accompany the child, along with written consent by the parent or guardian.

Meanwhile, the Genesee County Health Department has established a Memorandum of Understanding with eight schools in Genesee County, partnering with each district to utilize their facilities for public health emergencies including, but not limited to, vaccine distribution.

The health department is also planning to provide clinics in other locations as well to ensure all residents of the Genesee County are accommodated. Alternate sites include doctor’s offices, universities and colleges and pharmacies.

The vaccines will also be distributed to the public in phases of priority, as determined by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP.) Frontline healthcare workers will be the first to receive the vaccines, followed by elderly populations in long term care facilities, first responders and public health professionals.

COVID-19 vaccines are projected to become available to the general public by late spring. When distribution begins, the health department will post the times and locations of clinics, along with the priority group that will be eligible for receiving vaccines at that time.

Information on the COVID- 19 vaccines and how they will be distributed by priority groups is available at https:// www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/vaccines/index.htmle

For additional information on COVID-19 and guidelines, visit gchd.us/covid-19. B.G.