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Lansing officials defend getting COVID-19 vaccinations early

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 22:04:35-05

LANSING, Mich. — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and two city council members were given COVID-19 vaccines last month, before the vaccine was available to their priority groups.

Schor, along with council members Peter Spadafore and Brandon Betz, received vaccines in this early rollout.

Each said they were under the impression that the shots would go to waste if they weren’t administered.

“The worst thing in the world is to have a wasted vaccine, so when you hear that these vaccines have to be put in arms quickly...you want to use it so it’s not wasted,” said Schor.

The question now is whether getting vaccinated early will have political consequences.

Schor is up for reelection this year. One of his opponents will be former Lansing mayor Virg Bernero.

Bernero said Schor’s choice to get vaccinated ahead of more vulnerable groups is concerning.

“There’s an opportunity at the local level to build trust and to demonstrate leadership and I think we’ve seen just the opposite,” he said.

Sparrow Health spokesman John Foren said that when the hospital offered doses to the city through a pilot program, it asked that only essential workers who fell in the 1B priority group get the vaccine.

Two hundred city of Lansing employees including Schor and Betz were vaccinated. Spadafore, who is also up for reelection this year, said he got his shot through a "private medical provider."

Linda Vail, the Ingham County health officer, said last month that the distribution of the vaccine to city officials was “an error.”

Spadafore and Betz have both issued statements on social media explaining their decision to get vaccinated. Neither responded to requests for comment.

Kaisha Young, FOX 47 News, 2021
Kaisha Young FOX 47 News, 2021

For some Lansing residents, the posts are not enough.

“These officials could have reached out to anybody else they know who’s more vulnerable,” said Katana Rae Ovenhouse. “A frontline worker, grocery store worker, teacher, childcare worker...so many other people should have gone in their place.”

Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

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Erica Murphy

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