Oakland, Macomb counties to offer third dose of COVID-19 vaccines

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Oakland and Macomb county health officials are providing residents with compromised immune systems a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Oakland County Health Division has started administering the doses at its North Oakland Health Center in Pontiac and South Oakland Health Center in Southfield, officials said Wednesday. Clinics are planned next week in Novi, Pontiac, Rochester and Southfield.

An appointment is recommended but walk-ups are welcome, county officials said.

Information is available at OaklandCountyVaccine.com. Residents without internet access can call 1-800-848-5533 from 8:30 a.m. to  5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised due to a medical condition or you are on immunosuppressive medications or treatments, you may receive a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 28 days after your second dose,” said Dr. Russell Faust, Oakland County Health Division medical director.

“The additional vaccine dose should be the same as the first two doses you received, but you do not have to visit the same provider. Individuals should not receive more than three vaccine doses.”

The Macomb County Health Department is set to start making appointments  beginning Monday.

Those eligible for the third jab include those who are at least age 12, have already had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, received solid organ transplants, have an active or untreated HIV infection, or were in active treatment for cancer, the department said.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have made it a priority to help protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “And with recent approvals to administer a third dose, I encourage anyone who is considering a third dose to contact their health care provider to see if they are eligible.”

Residents are urged to use the same vaccine they received for the first and second dose, "but if that is not possible, receiving a third dose with another mRNA vaccine is acceptable," the health department said Tuesday.

Third-dose vaccine appointments are available during the department’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic hours at the Verkuilen Building in Clinton Township and the Southwest Center in Warren/Majestic Plaza.

For details, go to https://www.macombgov.org/VaccineCentral. To schedule an appointment for a third dose, go to https://www.macombgov.org/healthappointment.

Residents who need help making an appointment or transportation can call SMART at (586) 421-6579.  

“We’re committed to making sure that anyone who is eligible and wants to receive a third dose is able to do so,” said Andrew Cox, director/health officer of the Macomb County Health Department.

In this Feb. 25, 2021, file photo, vials for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are displayed on a tray at a clinic set up by the New Hampshire National Guard in the parking lot of Exeter, N.H., High School.

The announcement follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month approving additional Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses for people with compromised immune systems.

The one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine has not been approved for an additional booster dose.

Last week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city's largest vaccination site would reopen its drive-thru operations starting Tuesday to offer a third shot to residents who are immunocompromised.

Separately, U.S. health officials on Wednesday announced plans to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and signs that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling.

The plan, as outlined by the director of the CDC and other top authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20.

The announcements of a third shot and boosters come as Michigan COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The state added 2,690 cases and 46 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, including totals from Tuesday. The figures bring Michigan's total number of confirmed cases to 925,377 and deaths to 20,076 since the virus was first detected in March 2020, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported. 

Last week, the state added 8,633 cases and 61 deaths from the virus, marking the sixth consecutive increase in weekly case totals.

Michigan also has 233 cases of the delta variant, and totals have doubled in the last four weeks.

Most patients hospitalized from the virus are unvaccinated, the state health department said.

Many Michigan residents live in counties where the federal government urges the fully vaccinated to wear masks in public indoor settings since transmission is “high” or “substantial.”

On Wednesday, the CDC reported 76 of 83 Michigan counties, including Oakland and Macomb, were in the "high" or "substantial" categories. The state's weekly case rate per 100,000 residents has reached 108.5, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, the United States this month reached President Joe Biden's goal of having 70% of adults with at least one vaccine dose.

Through Tuesday, 64.8% of Michigan residents 16 and older had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the state website.