EAST LANSING, Mich. — Vaccination efforts across the country are ramping up as states race to contain COVID-19 and new, more infectious strains of the virus.
And, here in Ingham County, one vaccination center is administering more than a thousand doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per day.
The Michigan State University Pavilion is now a drive-thru facility where people who live or work in Ingham County can get vaccinated without ever leaving their cars.
“It was easier than a flu shot,” Elaine Flore said Tuesday after receiving her final dose of the vaccine. “We really appreciate how organized this experience has been.”
As Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail explained, it takes a whole team to keep operations running at the vaccination center.
“The registrator and the observer will follow behind the vaccinator and write the time on the windshield that the person got that vaccine. In the meantime, while those cars are staying there for those 15 minutes, there’s an observer walking up and down the aisles making sure everyone is okay. Then we have a person with a tablet who, if this is their first dose, we will schedule their second dose right here on site,” Vail said.
Other key features of the vaccination center are traffic control, mostly run by volunteers from the Michigan National Guard, and nurses who help to organize vaccination materials.
“Our nurses are drawing vaccines into syringes. You can see they have vials and syringes here they’re pulling the vaccine in and setting them in baskets so our vaccinators have vaccine to use all day long,” Vail said.
The facility is able to administer 180 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per hour. Right now, the facility is operating 8 hours a day, 4 days a week. The county is able to administer over 5,500 doses per week at this rate.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited the Pavilion Tuesday morning and was impressed by the amount of vaccine being distributed.
“I was proud to witness the incredible work they’re doing every day. Our local health experts, National Guard, Michigan State Police, all of them working together,” Whitmer said in Tuesday’s COVID briefing.
Ingham County’s team of vaccinators is using every dose of vaccine they can bring in as the fight against COVID-19 continues.
“While our numbers continue to trend overall in the right direction, I’m very concerned by what we’re seeing with the B117 variant. We now know of 45 cases of the variant across 10 counties,” Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said.
On Sunday, a case of the more contagious variant was identified in Eaton County.
“Please do get your vaccine when one becomes available to you. Current information available on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines show that they are effective against this new B117 variant,” Khaldun said in Tuesday’s COVID update.
All vaccinations are by appointment only. You can book your appointment to get vaccinated online based on your eligibility and the state’s supply.
Make sure to check your local health department’s registration guidelines early, some appointments are being made months in advance.
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