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Vaccinations in northern Michigan slow as Biden proposes sending doses elsewhere.

2021-05-05 GT Co Vaccine clinic.jpeg
Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Grand Traverse County has 62 percent of residents – the second highest mark in the state – vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the most recent state data. That’s a good trend that’s slowing down, according to county health officials who say they’re already seeing less people coming in to get shots.

“We’re partnering with a lot of the larger businesses, some of the trade groups, some of the churches ... to get [people] vaccinated there,” says Wendy Hirschenberger with the county health department.

Health officials in neighboring Leelanau and Benzie counties have reported slow downs in appointments as well, with some county health departments now turning away shipments.

As of Tuesday, Leelanau County still had the highest rate of vaccinations in the state at over 68 percent.

The Grand Traverse County Health department will begin shutting down their large vaccine clinic at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City over the next few weeks.

Instead they will focus on smaller and more precise outreach and plan for vaccinating younger students when eligibility opens up, said Hirschenberger.

President Biden’s administration has proposed redistributing unused doses of the vaccine from states like Michigan to states where demand is higher.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) defended the idea, saying that it would have helped Michigan last year when healthcare workers didn't have enough personal protective equipment.

“You need to go where the demand is to try to minimize the infection,” he said Wednesday.

Over half of Michigan residents have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.