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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Local COVID-19 vaccination eligibility expanded as vaccine supply stabilizes

HANCOCK -- Providers across the western Upper Peninsula are expanding the number of groups eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The expansion is made possible by a more stable and slightly increased weekly vaccine supply to the area.

"We are currently vaccinating people age 65 and older, those age 50 and older with underlying health conditions, and caregivers of children with special health care needs," said Kate Beer, Health Officer for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD). "Providers across the district are seeing their waitlists shrink. We are hopeful that we will be able follow the state plan and begin vaccinating people age 50 and over beginning March 22 and those age 16 to 49 by April 5."

WUPHD has piloted a plan to provide mobile vaccinations to those who have difficulty obtaining transportation or are homebound across the five-county district. The Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine will be used for this purpose. The project is expected to take several weeks, with any remaining doses being released to the public only after its completion. Additional doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are not expected until late April.

Residents can visit to locate a provider in their area. Those without computer access should call 211 or their healthcare provider for assistance in scheduling an appointment.

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