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Limited vaccine supply headlines virtual town hall

Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 01, 2021

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Kent County residents were able to learn more about the vaccine distribution process during a virtual town hall held by Senator Winnie Brinks with Dr. Adam London of the Kent County Health Department and Dr. Hyung Kim, President of Mercy Health Saint Mary's.

A recurring topic during the evening was the supply-demand chain, with Dr. London and Dr. Kim agreeing there is still not enough vaccine to distribute across West Michigan.

"I share the frustration, I think we all do," Dr. London said. "Right now, it is truly a supply problem and creating systems of distribution. We just need more vaccine."

The Kent County Health Department currently receives about 15,000 doses per week. At this time, roughly 98,000 Kent County residents have received a first dose of the vaccine with 63,000 receiving a second dose.

Both Dr. London and Dr. Kim expect the supply problem to get better soon, but say it will still be quite some time before the next priority group will be eligible for vaccination.

"If I had to hazard a guess, it’s not going to be in the next few weeks," Dr. Kim said.

Because of the supply and demand issue, health organizations are currently doing their best to use every vaccine available without wasting any doses. Mercy Health Saint Mary's has currently deployed 30,755 doses of the 3`1,350 doses they have received.

"I think folks can feel confident that every dose is being deployed either immediately or being held for second doses," It’s a much different picture now than what it was in the early days when I think we were still figuring that out," Dr. Kim said.

The host of the virtual town hall, Senator Winnie Brinks, was also quick to squash any speculation that the state would make it a requirement to get a vaccine.

"I’m not sure that we need a vaccine bill of rights," Sen. Brinks said. "I don’t think anybody is going down that road at this point to make it a requirement."