County health officials ramp up vaccinations at MSU Pavilion

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A partnership between McLaren Greater Lansing and the Ingham County Health Department aims to vaccinate up to 4,000 people daily at a clinic at the Michigan State University Pavilion. Officials are averaging only about 1,400 doses administered there every day. The expansion — which began with staff assistance on Tuesday— ramps that rate up by 185%.

“We will be running at full capacity over the next month, working as hard as we can to meet our vaccination goals, but the demand for staffing is a challenge,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. “Ingham County Health Department has been working toward common goals with McLaren Greater Lansing over the past year, but now we will be united in operations.”

The additional help from McLaren Greater Lansing will also allow county health officials to increase outreach and bolster equity with community clinics, mobile clinics and strike teams. 

Last week, health officials expanded vaccination appointments at the drive-thru MSU Pavilion clinic to all Michigan residents ages 16 and older. Previously, the clinic was only vaccinating people who live or work in Ingham County. More than 68,000 doses have been administered there to date. County officials are about 50,000 doses short of vaccinating 70% of residents.

Visit hd.ingham.org/coronavirus/r_1013.aspx to schedule an appointment online. Vaccinations are also available without an appointment every day this week from 9 a.m to 2:30 p.m. Community volunteers are encouraged to register and apply at tinyurl.com/ICHDvolunteer. 

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New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors when in small groups with other fully vaccinated friends and family. CDC officials also suggested that vaccinated people can gather in small groups without masks even if the group includes unvaccinated individuals — just as long as the group consists of two households who don’t have risky medical conditions.

Still, Vail urged residents in Greater Lansing to avoid potentially unnecessary viral exposure. 

“We might want to be a little more cautious,” Vail said. “I’d advise people to be a little more cautious here in the state of Michigan for a little while longer. In general, this is a very good outcome. I just think we are uniquely situated in this state right now. I’d urge caution.”

With vaccination clinics still struggling to outpace rising hospitalization rates and percent positivity rates in Greater Lansing, Vail said gatherings should still be avoided. 

More than 200 federal personnel will arrive in Michigan this week to assist at three vaccination sites: Devos Place in Grand Rapids, Ford Field and the TCF Center in Detroit. That support includes staff from the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard and the Forest Service. They arrived in Michigan on Wednesday (April 21) and are expected to be fully operational by Thursday (April 29). 

“We are still fighting this virus, and we must continue masking up, socially distancing, washing our hands, and crucially, getting vaccinated,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I will continue fighting to make sure Michigan gets the support it needs so we can get back to normal sooner.” 

Michigan has administered more than 6.5 million doses in just over four months. To date, at least 47% of residents have received at least one dose. One third are fully vaccinated. 

The city of East Lansing canceled an underground market slated for May 9 due to continued high rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, city officials said in a press release.

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