District health department expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

MANISTEE COUNTY — District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is now opening up eligibility for all frontline essential workers, all adults aged 50 and older and caregivers of individuals with special needs to register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. DHD#10 will continue to prioritize seniors 65+ who are on the waiting list first.

Frontline/Essential workers now eligible include:

•Food processing and migrant/seasonal farm workers; (further defined here)

• Utilities and energy services workers;

• Critical manufacturing workers;

• Public transit workers;

• Grocery store workers;

• U.S. Postal Service workers;

• Local government workers; and

• Workers with unique skill sets not covered above, such as non-hospital laboratories, and veterinary clinics

  • If you work for an employer with under 75 employees, complete this form to get on our waiting list
  • If you employ 75 or more workers, have one individual complete our Large Employer Interest Survey and we will contact you directly to schedule a vaccine clinic

Restaurant workers are NOT currently eligible to receive the vaccine. The health department will notify the public when this changes.

Adults 50 and older now include:

• Anyone age 50 and older with or without a medical condition. Anyone age 50 and older, including those 65+, can schedule an appointment by clicking this link. Vaccine supply is limited, so if no dates are available, complete this form to get on our waiting list.

Caregivers of individuals with special needs include:

• Caregiver family members and guardians age 16 and over of children or adults with special health care needs, including any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.

Complete this form to get on the waiting list. This is the same form as frontline/essential workers

“While we still have many seniors 65 and older on waiting lists in some of our larger counties, we saw a need to expand eligibility for the vaccine so that our clinics are full and all vaccine supplies are utilized,” said Kevin Hughes, DHD#10 health officer. “We will continue to prioritize our seniors who are still waiting, but it is important that they accept our phone calls so that we can get them scheduled.”

The expansion is happening in conjunction with the following members of the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance: Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, District Health Department No. 2, District Health Department No. 4, District Health Department #10, Grand Traverse County Health Department, and Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

This decision was made among our health officers to meet our unique community needs and differs from the guidance set by the State of Michigan,” according to a DHD#10 press release.

Local health departments are responsible for oversight and implementation of the vaccine strategy within their jurisdictions. They play a crucial convening and coordination role in both the distribution and administration of vaccine.

For questions, email covid@dhd10.org. For more COVID-19 vaccine information, visit www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vaccine. To stay informed, sign up for the public health alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe.