The Macomb County Health Department is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to residents with medical conditions or disabilities age 16 or older and their caregivers.
“We are encouraged to see a number of positive trends with our vaccination strategy here in Macomb County,” Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said in a press release Saturday.
“With an ever-growing number of seniors obtaining the vaccine and increased doses being received, we are making the commitment to provide vaccines to individuals who have a disability and legal advocates.”
Macomb County had been following the state recommendation to vaccinate those 60 and older.
The expansion comes after a campaign produced more than 500 letters to county officials concerned with the lack of disability prioritization in the vaccine rollout.
The campaign, led by Detroit Disability Power, also succeeded in making Detroit the first city in the country to prioritize vaccines for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities on Feb. 11.
Directors of Detroit Disability Power said 14% of Macomb County residents live with disabilities and their coalition of partners are ready to assist with any vaccination site.
“Thank you to Macomb County for becoming the first county in Michigan to provide COVID-19 vaccines to people with disabilities, chronic illness and disease ages 16 and up,” said Jeffrey Nolish, policy director, Detroit Disability Power. “This policy will impact over 111 thousand Macomb residents with disabilities and we are extremely grateful to the County Executive and County Commissioners for their leadership.”
As of Friday, the county was reporting 56,927 cases and 1,870 deaths from COVID-19.
To make an appointment by registering online at www.MacombGov.org/covidvaccine. Vaccines are being administered at the Verkuilen Building, 21885 Dunham Road, Clinton Township.
The county reports it has received 87,805 doses of vaccine and administered 65,793; its vaccination rate is 20.7%.
The SMART bus system is fielding calls and registering seniors on a waitlist, which the county will use to set up appointments when vaccines are available. SMART will also make transportation arrangements for those who request assistance.
Seniors should call the SMART Macomb Vaccine Hotline at (586) 421-6579 to register for the county waitlist.
Additional scheduling options are available at www.macombgov.org/vaccinecentral.
“Throughout this pandemic we have worked with public health experts and community advocates to develop the most responsive and equitable vaccine strategy for our community,” Macomb County Health Officer Andrew Cox said in the release. “This is the next step to ensure all vulnerable population groups can have safe access to the vaccine right here at home.”