Hillsdale Hospital’s initial allocation of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the state of Michigan has been dedicated to vaccinating all Tier 1A healthcare and long-term care workers in Hillsdale County, as well as Tier 1B essential workers. We are holding a clinic for those remaining Tier 1A and Tier 1B workers on Thursday and Friday of this week, however, we will have a small number of doses remaining. For this reason, we are offering those remaining doses to seniors, opening up registration for those aged 65 years and older tomorrow, Monday, January 25 at 10 am via the following webpage: www.hillsdalehospital.com/vaccinesignup. (Please do not attempt to access this webpage now. It is currently password-protected and will not be accessible until January 25 at 10 am.)
While we know that opening up spots for such a small number of doses will undoubtedly leave many people frustrated that they can’t get a spot, the alternative is to wait for more doses before administering these so more people can get registered at once. That would leave unused doses sitting in a freezer—something we will not allow when they can be used to help protect our community from COVID-19 now.
While this week’s opportunity for seniors to get vaccinated is extremely limited on a first-come, first-served basis, we are excited that we will be partnering with our local health department, the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency to provide additional vaccination clinics in the coming weeks. Both BHSJ AND Hillsdale Hospital will be advocating for more vaccine allocations to come to our community and we hope this joint effort will allow more individuals to get vaccinated sooner. We are, of course, at the mercy of the state and how many doses they give us, but we will be working hard to get those shots in arms as quickly as possible when we do receive them. We also expect to have an option for future clinics to allow seniors to register over the phone as we know technology is a limiting factor for some.
Please note that we will not be creating a waiting list for vaccinations because we do not want to give anyone a false sense of security when we don’t know when or if we will actually have a dose for them. Approved vaccine providers are notified on Fridays whether we will receive any vaccine for the following week and how many doses we will receive. The doses are then delivered the following Monday or Tuesday, giving us roughly 48-72 hours over the weekend to open up registrations for vaccine appointments in our communities in order to ensure those doses are administered as quickly as possible. Because of the short notice on delivery, storage requirements for the vaccine itself and the scheduling challenges to ensure each person receives two doses a specific number of days apart, this is unlike any vaccination effort healthcare entities have undertaken before. We are working as we go to develop the best ways to get this accomplished and get everyone vaccinated just as soon as we can. We ask for your patience and support as we work through the challenging process of administering these in an equitable way with limited resources.
We are so grateful to serve the Hillsdale community and thank you for your continued support as we have worked to care for our family, friends and neighbors during this unprecedented pandemic, and are now adding our vaccination effort on top of that. To say our team is resilient and incredible would be an understatement. This is a historically challenging time for us in healthcare, and we could not continue to do what we do without our #hillsdalestrong community having our back every step of the way!