Oakland County health officials grateful to vaccinate thousands a week

The Detroit News

Madison Heights — Kristen Schroeder purposely wore a tie-dye T-shirt with a smiling face on it Sunday because she wanted to convey how happy she was to finally get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"I'm kind of a super vaxxer so if there's a vaccine out there, I want to get it," said Schroeder, 55, of Rochester Hills who is eligible for the vaccine because she works in education. "I was eager to get it, and I was kind of jealous that some of my friends got it sooner than me."

Kristen Schroeder, 55, of Rochester Hills, talks about receiving her vaccination shot at the UFCW Local 876 office Sunday.

Schroeder, along with about 1,250 other people who live or work in Oakland County, received their first dose of the vaccine Sunday at the Local 876 office for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Madison Heights.

The Oakland County Health Department held the clinic as part of its outreach to administer the vaccine to everyone who fits the phase 1A and 1B requirements and hasn't been able to schedule a vaccination appointment. The department does not accept walk-ups.

The county receives vaccines based on how many appointments are scheduled with the health department. This week, it received 6,250 doses of the vaccine. Last week, it had a shipment of 7,800 doses.

"Every week we hope to add new, larger-scale events like this, but again, it really just depends on the vaccine quantity that we receive," said Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford onSunday.

So far, Oakland County has administered more than 16,000 doses. Nearly 3,000 vaccinations were given at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on Jan. 23. 

On Friday, a new drive-through vaccination site was set up at the West Bloomfield Fire Station. Vaccinations at the station are by appointment only and can accommodate up to 640 people. 

Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford talks about the vaccination program Sunday.

In neighboring Wayne County, officials say while the state is sending more vaccine, 8,375 doses this week, it's still not enough vaccine to meet the demand from essential workers.

Wayne County Execuitve Warren Evans requested a meeting with members of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's staff on Thursday, claiming the county's Public Health Division had received fewer doses of the vaccine than health offices in less populous counties. 

“I am fighting to ensure Wayne County receives the number of doses it needs based on a fair and equitable formula that reflects our population, the higher social vulnerability of many of our residents, and our status as Michigan’s most diverse county,” Evans said in a news release.

“I appreciate that the state is working to distribute a very limited vaccine supply to the entire state, but I think more work is needed to ensure a reliable and equitable supply,"  Evans said.

On Sunday, Stafford said Oakland County could use more vaccine too, "but we're very grateful for what we are receiving." 

Lindsay Swindle, 40, of Carson receives her vaccination shot Sunday morning from nurse Phyllis Weber Samsky at the UFCW Local 876 office.

While some remain skeptical of the vaccine, Lindsay Swindle, 40, who returns to teaching in-person classes at Oakside Scholars Charter School in Waterford Township on Monday, said she thinks it has been tested enough.

"I've had a large amount of family that have had COVID ... and I don't want to take that chance again, so I'm just happy to get some sort of protection," Swindle said.

Any vaccines not used by the end of Sunday's clinic will be given to those registered on the Health Department's Save Your Spot list. 

Those on the list, now about 310,000 people, are contacted when they're eligible to receive the vaccine based on the state's administration guidelines.