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Michigan expands vaccine eligibility phase 1B

Aspirus supporting vaccinations among new groups

LAURIUM – The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) further expanded Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. This means the following are now eligible:

— Adults age 50+ with medical conditions and disabilities*.

— Caregivers of children with special health care needs.

*All adults age 50 to 64 will become eligible on March 22 in Michigan.

Individuals within these newly eligible groups can request vaccination through Aspirus and appointments will be made available based on vaccine supply.

“The vaccine allocations we have received of late have allowed us to meet second-dose needs, but have not allowed us to adequately reach previously eligible groups like adults 65+,” said Jessica Bessner, PharmD, director of regional pharmacy for Aspirus in the U.P. “If supply improves, Aspirus is ready and has the capacity to ramp up vaccinations dramatically.”

Aspirus is scheduling those who are eligible as closely as possible to the order in which requests are received. This can vary based on vaccine supply, eligibility phase, and location.

“Our local health departments in the U.P. have supported our efforts by sharing some of their vaccine supply with us,” Bessner said. “We appreciate this collaboration but ask people to recognize that it will take time to vaccinate everyone in the groups that become eligible.”

To date, Aspirus has provided more than 4,000 first-dose vaccinations to eligible community members in Upper Michigan with about 3,500 individuals having completed the series. Aspirus has also provided vaccinations to more than 5,700 health care workers, EMS, first responders, fire, and police personnel.

To request a call back for COVID-19 vaccination through Aspirus, people are encouraged to do so through the MyAspirus patient portal. Requests also can be made by going online to aspirus.org/vaccine. Aspirus schedulers are contacting those who are eligible when appointments become available.

Those who have submitted a vaccine request are asked to avoid calling Aspirus for vaccination status updates. This helps reserve staffed phone lines for outreach scheduling and for patients calling who are experiencing active symptoms or have care needs.

Updates are being provided to those who remain on Aspirus’ call back list through the MyAspirus patient portal and email.

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