KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo County started vaccinating people 65 years old and over Tuesday, shifting into Phase 1B more than two weeks after the state opened eligibility.
During a vaccination clinic at the Kalamazoo County Expo clinic, health officials vaccinated about 1,500 Phase 1B-eligible recipients and will vaccinate another 1,500 people at a clinic Wednesday. Kalamazoo County Health Officer Jim Rutherford said it was a good feeling to watch the first shots the morning of Jan. 19, 2021, but said the county could do much more if doses of the vaccines were more readily available.
Rutherford said the county has the capacity to scale up and vaccinate up to 6,000 people a day, but the county isn’t receiving enough vaccine to reach anywhere near capacity.
“I have the space, I have the human resource, I have the supplies, I have a waiting list of over 20,000 people,” Rutherford said. “What I need is the availability of vaccine.”
He said inconsistent delivery schedules makes it even harder to plan events like the clinics because health officials are never sure when, or in what quantity, shipments of vaccines would arrive.
Usually they receive, at most, a one-day notice, increasing the challenges of planning more than a couple days ahead.
“Sometimes we get a shipment, sometimes we get what we ask for, sometimes we get less than we ask for and sometimes we don’t get any product at all,” he said.
Rutherford said it was frustrating to see more than 500,000 doses of the vaccine sitting in storage in Michigan while the county's supply can't meet demand, adding more than 60,000 Kalamazoo County residents match the state’s criteria to be vaccinated in Phase 1B.
You can check your eligibility and sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination in Kalamazoo County on the county's website.