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Ingham County received fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccine, MSU cases may be trending downward

February 9, 2021
<p>People walking along Grand River Avenue on Jan. 20.</p>

People walking along Grand River Avenue on Jan. 20.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Ingham County received fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week than it had the week prior, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said in a media briefing Tuesday. 

Data showing the total doses received are those to be administered the following week. In the week of Feb. 8, the department received 3,425 doses to be administered next week. The week prior, they had received 5,875 doses to be administered this week.

A possible reason for this discrepancy, Vail said, is a mistake made in a number of health systems across the state where many second doses were unintentionally allocated as first doses.

“Obviously, we don’t want people to go without their second dose," Vail said. "So, some redistributing of allocation which was supposed to start to skew more toward health departments is kind of a little bit on pause. I’m in the short term concerned because we have less vaccine than we did last week. I’m in the long term not confused because there’s a plan and a strategy to move forward in a way that gets vaccine to places where we equitably administer vaccine in partnership with our community partners, including health systems.”

As of Monday, Ingham County totals 25,733 confirmed first and second doses of the vaccine received and 22,302 administered, including the 5,100 appointments scheduled this week.

With 5,875 doses received to be administered, Vail said this does not mean that number of people can be vaccinated. There is a combination of first doses and second doses included in each allocation.

In compliance with the Michigan COVID-19 Prioritization Guidance, the department is currently in the process of vaccinating members of the 1B prioritization group. This includes those 75 years and older, frontline state and federal responders, school and child care staff, corrections staff and other essential frontline workers. Vail said when they eventually get to the essential workers in the final group of the 1B vaccinations, it will likely take a while given the size of the group and the current allocations of the vaccine.

As they eventually move into vaccinating those 16-64 years old with pre-existing conditions in group 1C, Vail said there will need to be a way to discern these individuals from those with no pre-existing conditions. The problem, then, is reaching people who do not have a primary medical care provider, Vail said.

“Those are the things that as health departments we really get concerned about, is how we reach the people that don’t have that kind of access and make sure that they too get these services,” Vail said. “It’s not about equal, it’s about equitable.”

In terms of the immunity rate of the vaccine, Vail said there’s no way to know until we see it happen.

“RNA viruses  just like flu are notorious for variance and mutations, it’s what they do," Vail said. "It’s normal, it's to be expected, and when you know that it’s normal and to be expected then you also know that you’re probably going to have to vaccinate more than just a single time. Whether that’s going to be annual or every three years, or something other than that, we don’t know yet."

Eventually, they will be able to follow those who were vaccinated early on in the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials to have some advanced planning for future vaccine routines, Vail said.

“It’s an unknown but it’s a pretty good scientific guess we call it a SWAG ... a ‘Scientific Wild (A) Guess,” Vail said. “There’s part of science that literally is, it’s not really guessing, guessing, it’s just trying to follow science and see where it’s going to lead you.”

There are currently 14,730 total cases of COVID-19 in Ingham County to date and 257 deaths, as of Monday.

Current hospitalizations at Sparrow and McLaren Health Systems total 72 confirmed and suspected cases with nine ventilated and nine in the intensive care unit.

Since students return to campus in recent weeks, Vail said there has been an upward trend in case numbers. This trend was cited as a reason for the period of enhanced physical distancing currently in place across campus. Between the weeks of Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, cases increased from 115 per week to 205 cases per week associated with the university. In the week of Feb. 1, this number has fallen down to 99. 

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