KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — One large county in West Michigan has opened up vaccines to everyone 16 and over.
The final group became eligible on Tuesday in Kalamazoo County.
Around 38% of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far.
Now that the largest group is eligible to get theirs, the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department is hoping it will help them reach herd immunity.
"In Kalamazoo County, we’ve opened up eligibility to 16 plus year olds. So, if you are over the age of 16 and live in Kalamazoo County, you are now eligible to sign-up and schedule a vaccine appointment," said Lyndi Warner, the public information officer for Kalamazoo County.
While everyone ages 16 and up in the state of Michigan will become eligible for their COVID-19 vaccine next Monday, Kalamazoo County opened it up a little earlier.
"We looked at everything going on with our clinics this week and our vaccine supply, and saw that we had appointments still available, and we wanted to get the shots in the arms. We decided to open it up prior to next week," said Warner.
The health department does want to remind people that the prior eligible groups still take precedent.
"If you are over the age of 50, are a caregiver with a child of special needs or are over the age of 16 with any disability or medical condition, we are still prioritizing you. We want you to call our call center, and we will get you at the quickest appointment that we can," said Warner.
Even though appointments are open to everyone 16 and up, the health department is asking people to be patient.
They said this is the largest group so you may not get in right away.
"We still need people socially distancing, wearing your mask and washing your hands. Those are still very important preventative measures that people need to take as they wait to get their vaccine or wait for that vaccine appointment," said Warner.
Appointment times for the COVID-19 vaccine in Kalamazoo County open up on Mondays at 7 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m. The health department said there are sometimes cancellations throughout the week, so you can check then as well.
Click here to sign-up for the vaccine or you can book your appointment through the call center at (269) 373-5200.