CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. — As people across West Michigan wait for their turn to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, some eligible people are traveling outside their county to do it.
The Calhoun County Public Health Department said their goal is the same as everybody else: to vaccinate at least 70% of people, creating herd immunity.
That means if someone has the opportunity to get vaccinated quicker elsewhere, the health department said they should take it.
"The natural thing for people to do is trying to get scheduled somewhere," said the Calhoun County Public Health Department Health Officer Eric Pessell.
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It's a mad rush as waitlist to recieve the COVID-19 vaccine fill up, reaching numbers in the thousands.
In Calhoun County, it is no different as the health department said they already have more than seven thousand people waiting to get their first dose, and some of those people qualify to get their vaccinations in other counties.
"There are different opportunities at different healthcare systems and things like that. If you’ve ever been a patient at Bronson Healthcare or Borgess or whatever, I think folks are just signing up at as many places as they can. Then when they get in, I think that’s where they go," said Pessell.
Pessell said they have just under four thousand people who have received at least one dose of Pfizer's COVID vaccine, and not everyone lives in the county. Some of those people may just work there.
For others who qualify elsewhere, they may go to a health system that crosses borders.
"If people are getting an email or outreach from a local health center, and they are doing that, that is fine. I think it is great that our health centers are partnering with us to get these vaccines done. As long as we are coordinating and talking that is the best we can ask," said Pessell.
While their wait lists are first come, first serve, the health department is asking you to be mindful of their resources and others who are waiting to get their vaccine dose as well.
"We want you to get on our waiting list. By all means get on our waiting list, but if there are other opportunities to get it, take it. All we are asking is that they let us know so that we can remove them," said Pessell.
If you qualify and need to register to receive your COVID vaccine, you can sign-up on the health department's vaccine page of their website.
You can also leave a message on the COVID vaccine hotline at (269) 441-0912.
The health department said the hotline gets busy, so you may have to call back if the mailbox is full. Once you leave a message, do not call back. You will automatically be placed on the wait list in the order you called. The health department will send you an automated call 48 hours later to confirm.