Hundreds of openings still exist for Saturday and Sunday appointments for area residents
University Center, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan National Guard and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are encouraging residents in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties age 65 and older who are on a waitlist and eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccination this weekend during a mass clinic at Delta College with an important message.
"Please answer your phone."
Delta College is hosting the regional mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic supported by the Michigan National Guard, by appointment only, Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for residents of Bay, Midland and Saginaw Counties who are 65 years of age and older.
MDHHS and Michigan National Guard staff are calling residents in Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties who are on the COVID-19 vaccination wait-list to schedule appointments to the Delta College event this weekend through a phone bank operation.
Some calls are coming from MDHHS staff using the MICOVID Help line (MI COVID HELP or 866-806-3447) while other staff calls for MDHHS and the National Guard are coming from 517 area codes.
The disconnect, state officials say, is that too many of those eligible in the 989 area code used by Bay, Saginaw and Midland are ignoring the 517 and 866 calls or failing to answer in the mistaken belief the contact is coming from robo-marketing callers.
"We respectfully ask everybody with a 989 area code who is on the wait-list in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties to please take advantage of this free opportunity by answering your phone if it comes from an 866 or 517 number," said Protect Michigan Commission Director Kerry Ebersole Singh.
The bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission was created this year by Gov. Whitmer and the appointees represent a diverse array of industries, professions, and backgrounds. Housed within the MDHHS, they are charged with helping to ensure every Michigander has a plan to get vaccinated once the opportunity becomes available to them with the goal of getting 50,000 shots in arms daily.
Registration lists from all three health departments in Bay, Midland and Saginaw county are being used to schedule appointments for 1,000 residents from each county. Staff from the MDHHS are scheduling all appointments and Solv Health is being used to send self-scheduling links to those with e-mails/texting capability. Those without e-mail/texting capability are being called directly.
The clinic will offer both drive-thru and indoor vaccination stations using Michigan National Guard medics and Delta College nursing students to administer the vaccines. The National Guard is sending 30 COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams to the event who will also be providing administrative, logistics and traffic control support.
The multiagency partnership seeks to support the three counties - Bay, Midland and Saginaw - as they join with Delta College to vaccinate 3,000 Michiganders in one weekend. A similar second-dose clinic is tentatively scheduled for April 10 and 11.
Those with appointments should enter the campus via the Delta Road entrance. DO NOT CALL your local health department to try to schedule an appointment for this clinic. DO NOT go to this clinic without an appointment. Residents without appointments will be turned away.
"This mass vaccination site is a tremendous step forward as we continue ramping up our vaccinations efforts here in Michigan," said Governor Whitmer. "I am grateful to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan National Guard, Delta College and all of our partners for their collaboration.
"The MI COVID Recovery Plan I introduced would allow use of the $5 billion sent to us by the federal government to expand testing, tracing, and lab capacity, put people back to work, send our kids back to school, and meet our vaccination targets to help us get back to a sense of normalcy."