Shannon Headley, a civics and sociology teacher at Brighton High School, was one those who had an appointment to receive vaccination from the Oakland County Health Division Jan. 23 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. It was her birthday, and she said getting vaccinated was “The best birthday present ever.”

Shannon Headley, a civics and sociology teacher at Brighton High School, was one those who had an appointment to receive vaccination from the Oakland County Health Division Jan. 23 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. It was her birthday, and she said getting vaccinated was “The best birthday present ever.”

Photo by Deb Jacques


Oakland County, municipalities ready for vaccine distribution

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 25, 2021

  Oakland County Health Division registered nurse Joan Curry prepares a COVID-19 vaccination Jan. 23.

Oakland County Health Division registered nurse Joan Curry prepares a COVID-19 vaccination Jan. 23.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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FRANKLIN/BLOOMFIELD — It may still be some time before local governments get the supplies they need to be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine widely to the public.

But they’re doing the work now so that, when that time comes, they’ll be ready.

The Oakland County Health Division, which has been locally tracking virus spread and recommending safety guidelines throughout the pandemic, has received just under 8,000 doses of the vaccine, and close to 70% of those had been administered by press time. Along with that, the department has booked more than 17,000 first- and second-dose appointments through the end of February.

It might take a while before residents are able to claim their place in line for a vaccine, but the county has developed an online resource where people can sign up to save their spot in line.

“We are asking the community to help us plan for administering future doses of vaccine we receive by completing this new form,” said County Executive David Coulter in a press release. “This will help us reach residents and workers who are eligible for vaccination when more doses become available. As we receive more vaccine, we will continue to administer them quickly and efficiently until everyone has the opportunity to receive the vaccine.”

The newly launched effort, called “Save Your Spot,” is not designed to make vaccination appointments for residents, Coulter’s office stressed. Instead, by filling out the online form, residents can help the Health Department to identify those eligible for the shot and those interested in getting one.

The Birmingham Fire Department is ready to help the county manage the high demand of vaccine administrations when the doses become available. The Fire Department said it has requested doses from the Health Department for its residents and hopes to receive them in the coming weeks.

“We prepared for this turning point in the pandemic in April by purchasing syringes and needles with the hope of someday inoculating residents who are most susceptible to this deadly disease,” said Birmingham Fire Chief Paul Wells in a prepared statement, adding that 30 of the department’s firefighters are paramedics.

Nearly all of the department’s firefighters have received both rounds of the vaccine. In the days after, Wells noted, some experienced mild side effects, like body aches and a low-grade fever for about 12-24 hours.

He said that wasn’t a deterrent for anyone on his team.

“I want to remind the community that this vaccine is safe, and it’s critical we fight against COVID-19,” he said.

In Bloomfield Township, Supervisor Dani Walsh said administrators have teamed up with Bloomfield Hills High School to create a distribution site.

“They’ve applied to the county to have a site at the high school location, connected to our township campus,” she explained.

Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education President Paul Kolin told the Eagle the district is awaiting approval from the Health Department, which could come when the agency obtains more doses.

The Bloomfield Hills Public Safety Department is trained as both law enforcement officers and firefighters, but the unit doesn’t hold the necessary licensing that would allow them to transport patients or administer medications with a needle. Those rescue needs are contracted out to Star ambulance company.

“Long story short, we aren’t licensed to administer COVID vaccines,” said BHPS Chief Noel Clason.

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