Snow day delays vaccine appointments

BERRIEN COUNTY – A snow day means for many scheduled activities get pushed back for the day. Unique to the ongoing pandemic, those activities can now include getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Tuesday morning, the Berrien County Health Department closed its offices for the day, citing the weather on its Facebook page’s announcement. The COVID-19 vaccine clinic scheduled for the day was also announced to be canceled for the day.

According to BCHD Communications Manager Gillian Conrad, those vaccine doses will still be distributed to the intended recipients

“We hope to get those out to the people who have previously scheduled appointments,” Conrad said.

Conrad said the BCHD has its vaccine supply planned out each week, and has back-up plans for each dose.

“We receive a supply at the beginning of the week. Because we do everything on an appointment-only basis, we plan down to the dose,” Conrad said.

Though rumors occasionally swirl up about doses being given out as an emergency situation as they have thawed too many or a unit has broken down, Conrad said the department will “never be in a situation” where vaccine doses will just be given out to anyone who shows up.

“We have a process we follow if there are extra doses at the end of the night. We have people on a stand-by, or on-call, list. [These people are] mostly essential workers and adults over 65 years of age,” Conrad said. “We have predesignated them. We have not had a single wasted dose to date, and we don’t intend to.”

In the situation that other vaccine distributors do have to administer unplanned doses, Conrad said, from public health perspective, the more people with the vaccine, the more protection there is for everyone.

“No dose is a wasted dose,” Conrad said. “The vaccine will provide protection, especially for those 65 years of age and older. Maybe not from a personal standpoint, but from a public one.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and eligibility for registering to be on the vaccine waitlist, visit BCHD.mi/1745/COVID-19-vaccine-information.

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