KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — The next phase of vaccinations are underway in Kalamazoo County for those ages 65 and older as well as additional essential workers.
Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (KCHCSD) said they already have over 20,000 people pre-registered for this phase of vaccinations.
While it is a long list, the health department started administering them on Tuesday, and one of those recipients said she never expected to have the vaccine this soon.
"I decided to get it, because I want to be safe, my family to be safe and everyone else. Too many people have passed away from this," said Frances DeYoung, who received the COVID-19 vaccine.
99-year-old Frances DeYoung was the first of many in Phase 1B to receive her first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in Kalamazoo County.
The #KalamazooCounty Department of Health & Human Services is vaccinating residents age 65 and older.— Lauren Kummer (@LaurenKummerTV) January 19, 2021
99-year-old Frances DeYoung was the first to receive her first dose of the #Pfizer vaccine. @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/mDiSKlShJh
Alongside Frances was 90-year-old Arthur Anderson, his wife Diane and 101-year-old Agnes Bennink.
"For a moment, I was afraid to take it and everything, but my daughter came and encouraged me to take it because they were concerned about my age. I’m 90 years old," said Arthur Anderson, who received the COVID-19 vaccine.
"A lot of times I don’t get out of my apartment, but I just don’t want to take a chance in getting it," said 101-year-old Agnes Bennink, who received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials said this is an important group to protect considering the danger the virus poses for them.
"In our county alone of the 275 deaths that we have encountered, 94% of those have been within the population of those over the age of 60. It is really important that we are able to get to the most vulnerable people of our population," said Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department's Health Officer Jim Rutherford.
So far, the county has received 6,825 doses of the vaccine, but estimates this current phase, which also includes some essential workers like those in schools, will total over 47,000.
"1B is a big, big lift, and 1C is going to be a big, big lift. I mean, to date, we have only vaccinated about less than 10% of our population, but we are moving and getting there. This signifies really I think a huge step forward," said Rutherford.
#KalamazooCounty Health says they have over 20,000 people pre-registered for Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine.— Lauren Kummer (@LaurenKummerTV) January 19, 2021
Health officer Jim Rutherford says he's unsure how quickly they will get through it due to vaccine supply. @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/LipQjaOMAo
Kalamazoo County said how quickly they work through this phase depends on vaccine supply available.
The health department is asking those who qualify to pre-register and be patient while they work through the list and continue to vaccinate.
To pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
SEE MORE: CORONAVIRUS VACCINE