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COVID-19 vaccine interest falling in northern Michigan

Spectrum Health
Health officials in northwest lower Michigan say not enough people are getting the available COVID-19 vaccine.

Some northwest Michigan health departments are seeing a decline in COVID-19 vaccine interest just a few weeks into the state expanding access to everyone 16 and older.

When vaccinations opened to northwest Michigan’s older population, health officials reported a “crushing demand.”

Now that appointments have opened to all ages, they can’t find enough people. Appointments remain open at sites in several counties served by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

“As you saturate more and more of the community and get more people vaccinated then you might be running into the people who are a little more hesitant,” says health officer Lisa Peacock.

She says with almost half the region vaccinated, the other half seems to be hesitant. Everyday people reach out to their offices asking for information on the vaccine’s safety.

“We are happy to discuss their questions or concerns and get them over that hurdle,” Peacock says.

The health department is trying new strategies like posting scheduling links on Facebook for appointments that same day or the next one.

Peacock says they are also trying to make vaccines more accessible by hosting a large-scale clinic in Gaylord on April 14th.

She says anyone needing transportation for an appointment can call 311 for a free ride.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.