Livingston County resolution calls for new state vaccine distribution plan

coronavirus vaccine filephoto
Posted at 7:33 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 07:33:15-05

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — As vaccine distribution continues to ramp up across the state, some counties are raising concerns about the metrics used to determine allocation.

This week, a special meeting in Livingston County will decide whether to call upon Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department to change their distribution plan.

“Vaccination supply continues to be limited,” Livingston County Health Director Dianne McCormick told county commissioners during a meeting on February 8. "I'm disappointed we will receive less vaccine than smaller counties like Jackson and St. Clair."

During the meeting, McCormick explained the county's lower vaccine allotment is due to the state using the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index in their distribution plan. The rating is meant to identify areas most in need during disasters, looking at factors like socioeconomic and minority status, disabilities, housing type, and transportation.

On the index, Livingston County is rated last in the state. “We’re just low on the totem pole, yet we have vulnerable people in our community,” Commissioner Kate Lawrence said during the meeting.

Instead of the SVI, some commissioners want the allocation to focus more on the number of senior citizens, many of whom in Livingston County are still waiting for their shots.

“We received feedback from over 18,000 seniors that are interested in getting vaccinated,” said Livingston County Commissioner Mitchell Zajac.

Zajac put forth a resolution calling on the governor and the state health department to replace the SVI with a new plan.

The exact resolution, on the agenda for a meeting Thursday, is titled "Resolution Calling Upon the Governor and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to Retract their SVI Social Factor-Based Plan and Replace it with a Scientific Medical Factor-Based Plan that Results in a Pro-Rata Uniform Distribution to Michigan’s Most Medically Vulnerable Population."

“The biggest factor is the elderly population, and that should be more heavily considered,” Zajac said.

According to Zajac, a change in the plan would move Livingston county from last to 11th on the priority list.

While this resolution in itself isn't binding, he hopes it sends a message. “A more fair approach is needed," Zajac said. "That’s what we hope to achieve with this.”

You can find details on the state's prioritization HERE.