Wayne County could still hamstrung by vaccine shortage despite increase in available dosage

Wayne County says it has not gotten an equitable share of vaccine doses but announced this week a shipment of more than 8,300 first doses and more than 2,900-second doses will be arriving in the county. The county’s COO, Genelle Allen, tells Fox 2’s Hilary Golston if the county got an adequate supply, it could vaccinate 30,000 people per week.

County Executive Warren Evans said he met with state officials and demanded the county fair share of the vaccine, claiming some counties with fewer people – were getting more vaccine.

Allen says the most recent expected shipment is "The largest allotment we had received thus far… before that it had been pretty sporadic and inconsistent."

Evans also said that the disparity in allotment was slowing the vaccination of health care workers and other priority groups.

The county released the following press release Saturday:

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – The State of Michigan on Friday informed Wayne County will receive 8,375 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week, an increase from the 4,350 doses Wayne County received this week. However, the supply remains insufficient to expedite vaccinations of health providers, educators, and other high-priority essential workers currently underway. News of the increase came one day after County Executive Warren C. Evans met with state officials demanding the county receive its fair share of the available doses."

I am fighting to ensure Wayne County receives the number of doses it needs based on a fair and equitable formula that reflects our population, the higher social vulnerability of many of our residents, and our status as Michigan’s most diverse county," Executive Evans said. "I appreciate that the state is working to distribute a very limited vaccine supply to the entire state, but I think more work is needed to ensure a reliable and equitable supply."

Executive Evans requested Thursday’s meeting with state health officials and members of the Governor’s staff because Wayne County’sPublic Health Division received fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than health departments in less populous counties. Executive Evans told state officials the disparity in vaccine allotment was slowing the county’s efforts to vaccinate health providers, educators, and other high-priority essential workers under the state’s Phase 1A and Phase 1B distribution plan.

Under an agreement between Wayne County and local health systems, county residents 65 years of age and older are being vaccinated through those health systems. This agreement helps prioritize senior residents while the county public health division focuses on health providers, educators, other high-priority essential workers.

The 8,375 first doses expected next week are an increase over the 4,350 received in the last shipment. Yet Wayne County’s amount is still less than what some other smaller community health departments received.

"I will continue to press the State of Michigan until the Wayne County Public Health Division receives the amount of vaccine required to meet the needs of its residents," Executive Evans added.

Starting Tuesday, Wayne County will begin vaccinating K-through-12 teachers and education workers at its vaccination sites located at the VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College and a new location at Wayne CountyCommunity College Downriver Campus in Taylor, which opens next week.

Teachers and education workers will be contacted by their individual school district or school administrator and informed of their scheduled time to receive the vaccine.

In addition to the 8,375 first doses, Wayne County will receive 2,925-second doses next week, which will be administered to residents who were first vaccinated three weeks ago. The county will receive both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in next week’s shipment.

For more information about Wayne County’s vaccine program, please visit www.waynecounty.com/covid19.