Officials urge residents to get vaccinated

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 16, 2021

 Madison Heights residents can visit the city’s website, madison-heights.org, where clicking a banner at the top of the front page will take them  to more resources on getting vaccinated.

Madison Heights residents can visit the city’s website, madison-heights.org, where clicking a banner at the top of the front page will take them to more resources on getting vaccinated.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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MADISON HEIGHTS/HAZEL PARK — With Michigan a national hotspot for COVID-19 in recent weeks and virus variants on the rise, city officials are urging residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein recently helped secure around 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for a clinic hosted by Rite-Aid at the Venetian Club April 12, which filled within 24 hours of sharing the link with the superintendents of the Madison and Lamphere school districts.

“Demand was high, and within hours of one person canceling an appointment, another would take their spot,” Grafstein said in an email. “At the end of the day, less than 10 of the people who signed up failed to appear, with a few non-registered people accessing those doses, and the pharmacists taking the rest back to the pharmacy to be administered.”

Grafstein wrote a letter to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to include The Pharmacy Shop, on Dequindre Road, as part of the state’s outreach program. To date, the business has administered more than 1,400 vaccines, and, at press time, had more available to walk-ins.  

Grafstein has also been directing people to the city’s website, madison-heights.org, where clicking a banner at the top of the front page will take them to more resources on getting vaccinated.

“I am grateful we were able to host the (April 12 clinic) without the use of limited city staff or resources,” she said. “With a rise in cases and the threat of another lockdown (at press time April 14), I think we all need to do what we can to keep ourselves and others safe. Wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask, and if you are eligible, talk to your doctor about the vaccine.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss said that both he and his wife got their shots.

“We both had some mild side effects following our last doses, but they were over pretty quickly,” Bliss said. “We both suffer from asthma, so in our case getting the protection that the vaccines can offer was well worth dealing with the minor short-term side effects.

“This pandemic has taken a lot from us,” he said. “Personally, I’ve watched those I love struggle through having this virus, and not everyone that I care about managed to beat it. COVID-19 is serious and has taken so much from our community already, in such a short time. That leads to a lot of anxiety, both around the pandemic in general, but also adding a lot of apprehension around the vaccine. Both are certainly understandable, but I am personally trying to focus on the hope of a future where we’ve reached herd immunity and can finally move past this. The vaccine can be an important piece of that, so it’s definitely worth everyone at least having a conversation with their doctor about it.”

Hazel Park City Councilman Luke Londo and his wife both received their first dose a week apart, and at press time were expected to be fully vaccinated by April 24. Londo said he had a headache and slight fatigue for about 24 hours after his first dose, which is consistent with how his body has experienced the flu shot and other immunizations in the past.

Also at press time, the Oakland County Health Division was conducting a mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Hazel Park Community Center the week of April 12. Londo anticipated more clinics in the near future.

“We continue to connect our residents with available resources, including free transit through SMART to and from local vaccination sites,” Londo said in an email. “Now that there is reliable access to supply, it’s a matter of ensuring our people are aware of the different avenues to get vaccinated, and I and my colleagues continue to do everything we can to inform our residents.”

As a survivor of COVID-19, Londo said the vaccine is nothing compared to the actual illness.

“As someone who has endured COVID-19 not once, but twice, I can promise you that the minor inconvenience and insignificant side effects (of the vaccine) pale in comparison to requiring six weeks of post-COVID-19 recovery to walk around my neighborhood without needing an inhaler or nebulizer treatment,” Londo said. “The only way we will be able to keep our kids in class, employees at work and restaurants and shops open is by residents acknowledging our shared responsibility to become vaccinated against COVID-19, and doing so.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett said that most of his family has been vaccinated at this point. He received both shots from a Beaumont-sponsored site in Southfield.

“It just seems that everything we’ve been through as a community, a state and nation has left evidence — overwhelming evidence — in support of vaccination as the only reasonable long-term solution to relieving the pain and suffering (caused by COVID-19) in our community,” Corbett said in an email.

“What works to confuse people is the mass media chooses to focus on the ... (few) vaccinated persons who still got sick, and they ignored the millions of patients who had been successfully immunized,” he said, pointing to a recent study released by the state that shows the vaccines’ near-100% success rate at preventing illness and death related to COVID-19.

“We as a society have to get past our fear,” he said. “We have to do the reading and research to assuage any lingering doubts — and then get the darn vaccine.”

Londo agreed.

“Whether you do it for yourself, your parents, your children, your friends or for me, vaccines are the path to resuming a sense of normalcy,” Londo said.

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