West Bloomfield approves township COVID-19 vaccination site

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published January 21, 2021

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees recently approved an inter-local agreement that allows Oakland County to administer COVID-19 vaccines at Fire Station 1, which is located on Orchard Lake Road.

The agreement came via a township board meeting Jan.19, with a 6-0 vote in favor of allowing the county to use the site.

The board meeting took place on Zoom.

The agreement puts the township in position to help Oakland County increase its outreach, along with providing a facility for local residents to get vaccinated.

Aside from providing a location, the township is also expected to help with traffic management.

The vaccine is to be administered by county employees.

In an email, Township Clerk Debbie Binder wrote, “Greg Flynn, the fire chief, and I worked closely with the township attorney to expedite a final contract to present to the board this evening (Jan. 19), knowing that advance preparation would allow for the facilities to be ready to go immediately when the vaccine becomes available.”

Exactly when that will be has yet to be determined.

“The county’s at the mercy of receiving (the) vaccine from the state, and as they get vaccine, they continue to move vaccine sites throughout the county to provide convenient access for residents,” Flynn said.

Flynn is pleased with the location chosen for West Bloomfield.

“Fire Station 1 is a good, strategic location in the township, (with) easy access off of Orchard Lake Road and lots of ample parking,” he said.

The station will serve as a drive-thru clinic, with residents driving their vehicles into the station.

“They’d never leave their vehicle,” Flynn said. “They’d receive their shot and then move to a holding area for the 15 to 30 minutes that they’d need to be observed. And once they’re done, they’d be on their way.”

Once the township receives notice that the county has the vaccine available, Flynn said, “We’ll be ready to go.”

“Typically, they’re turning, I think, that vaccine around very quickly once they receive delivery from the state,” he said. “They would then probably give us about 24 hours or more of notice, and then we would have the site prepped and ready to go for the county to come in.”

Oakland County residents have been encouraged to “Save Your Spot” in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.

To do so, visit oaklandcountyvaccine.com.

Employees and vehicles from Fire Station 1 will be dispersed among the five other stations in the township’s jurisdiction during times when the vaccine is administered.

As for the time frames when that administration might take place, Flynn said, “Pretty safe to say hours will be more than likely during normal business hours, kind of an 8 to 5 time frame, I think is safe to assume.”

Flynn said people he has spoken with indicate there is a “high interest” for the vaccine in the township.

However, some of them may have to wait.

“My last understanding is we are still in Phase 1B, which includes all first responders, so police, firefighters and paramedics,” Flynn said. “Phase 1A was health care providers. So that was paramedics, nurses, frontline health care providers. 1B now goes to include all public safety, school teachers, the folks working at grocery stores that are in frequent contact with the public, and our 65-and-older population, which is going to be very significant across Oakland County for the demand.”

Flynn expects the vaccine to be available for anyone sometime in June.

He has already personally received two doses of the vaccine, with the second one administered approximately 18 days after the first.

“The process was very smooth, very quick, very efficient,” Flynn said. “After the second dose, I did have a little joint discomfort, but all well within normal expectations for a vaccine, and those all resolved very shortly after (the) onset of those symptoms.”

Despite the vaccine’s availability for some, Flynn is a proponent of people continuing to wash their hands, practice physical distancing and staying home if they’re not feeling well.

He also clarified the township’s limited role in the vaccination process.

“We’re simply providing the location for the health care professionals at the county,” Flynn said. “The township is not making appointments, it’s not taking appointments. The township employees are not well suited to answer questions about the vaccine. Everything should go through the county.”

Flynn anticipates that vaccine clinics could be running “through the spring and into early summer.”

Binder took notice of the level of support for having a vaccination site within the township.

“I’m glad that it was a unanimous approval,” she said. “I think it’s important that we have that agreement in place, so the moment that we can get the vaccine in our hands, we’re able to distribute it as quickly as possible.”

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