Kent Co. Health Department discusses four phase vaccine rollout

Emergency preparedness coordinator pleads for patience
Posted at 10:33 PM, Jan 04, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Many people are wondering how they will know when they can get the COVID vaccine, so FOX 17 spoke with Dr. Karla Black, Ph.D., the Kent County Health Department’s emergency preparedness coordinator. She explained the four phases of the roll-out: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 2, which is for the general public.

“Phase 1A is from everyone working in hospitals all the way to chiropractors, dentists, a lot of other health care workers,” she told FOX 17. "There is quite a few people in that 1A category. It’s hard to say right now where the categories are going to fall, because there are a lot of things that are dependent upon. First of all, we have to have the vaccine, that’s the first piece. This vaccine is very different than any other vaccine we’ve ever had before, and it includes lots of thawing and very stringent controls on how to thaw it, and when you can pull it out of the freezer, and how long you can keep it in the refrigerator, things like that."

Dr. Black said Kent County may get to phase 1B in February. That includes anyone 75 or older and essential workers, and K through 12 staff,” said Dr. Black.

As for growing concerns that someone may not know they are eligible for a vaccine, Dr. Black says to fear not. “When we get in those larger categories, like the 1C, we’re going to be shouting from the rooftops, ‘Hey, we have vaccine. If you fit this role we want you in.’ When we’re able to open up a little further, we will certainly be shouting ‘Come get your vaccine, come get it. Please please please.'"

While Dr. Black is hopeful that Phase 2 will be rolled out to the general public in April or May, she has one plea: “Patience is going to be very key in this response, with the short supply of vaccine and the number of people we have in West Michigan. We just really emphasize patience. We are trying to get things rolled out as quickly as possible, but we also have to be as safe as possible when it comes to handling this vaccine. This vaccine is like gold at this point, so we really want to make sure that we are doing this efficiently but also correctly. So, as we keep marching forward and we keep getting more vaccine, we look forward to making sure you get your vaccine.

Dr. Black said for anyone with questions about the categories and timelines, the best place to track it all is