LANSING, Mich. — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and 200 city employees were given the COVID-19 vaccine early. Now, Ingham County Health Officer, Linda Vail, is calling the distribution a mistake.
“It was an error,” Vail said during Tuesday’s Ingham County Health Department briefing.
According to a statement from the mayor’s office, Sparrow Health contacted the city and offered vaccines that needed to be used “immediately to city employees, so they wouldn’t go to waste.” The offer came before Sparrow opened COVID-19 vaccine drive-through services to the public and seniors over the age of 70.
“It happened, it was an error,” Vail said. “I had discussions with the both the state and the health system about that. It was like, 'Okay, mistake.' Now, we have to move forward and make sure we don’t make mistakes.”
Council member Patricia Spitzley doesn’t support the early distribution because she says those 200 doses could’ve gone to people in the community who health officials say need it most. Her mother is part of the priority group that has been waiting to get vaccinated.
"As for my mother, she called me about it and I didn’t really have a message for her, other than saying, I am trying to get you the vaccine," Spitzley said.
Sparrow is standing by its actions.
“We are pleased to have been able to provide 1,000 doses to teachers and city of Lansing employees, among others," Sparrow said in a statement. "We instructed each entity to only make this available for interested Priority 1B employees. Two hundred City of Lansing employees were part of the group.”
Vail said, unless the city employees who were vaccinated were 65 or older, they should not have gotten a vaccine because they weren’t apart of a priority group. However, the distribution has no long term impact on the availability of the vaccination to others.
“It has not created a setback in vaccine availability and there has been a course correction,” Vail said.