CHEBOYGAN, Mich. – The Michigan National Guard is on pace to help distribute more than 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines across the state this week. In one day, 82 Guard COVID-19 Vaccination Testing Teams supported 32 facilities.
“Today, we’re in Cheboygan for a mass vaccination clinic,” said Denise Bryan, a district health officer. “We have 1,000 neighbors and residents scheduled to come in for their first dose vaccine.”
“We are opening at 9 and going until we are completely done – getting those doses in people’s arms,” she said.
Local health departments are following state health department guidelines with vaccination priority groups.
“Today, we have 75% of the vaccines aimed at the 65-and-older – so the elderly vulnerable population – and about 25% are for the prioritized essential workers,” said Bryan.
Residents who receive the first dose are scheduled to return for the second dose at another event.
“It’s important to my wife and I because we’re interested in protecting our health,” said Chuck Abshagen from Onaway. “We’re concerned about COVID and we’ve been anxiously waiting to get the vaccine.
“I went online to register and it was very easy, very glad I finally did it, and a month from now we will be getting the second dose.”
Mass vaccination clinics are a team effort. The Michigan National Guard and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are collaborating with local health departments to support Michigan’s fight against COVID-19.
“There are a number of functions the Guard is doing,” said Bryan. “They are the eyes and ears to the flow of the process.”
With more than 245 Michigan National Guard members making up CVTTs on duty this week, they are learning what it means to be in the Guard.
“My role is to be one of the team leaders,” said U.S. Army Spc. Anden Arnbruster, 1430th Engineer Company, Michigan Army National Guard. “Team leaders are responsible for making sure people are where they need to be at the right time."
Arnbruster added: “I wasn’t really expecting a mission like this, but this is what I joined for, and this has been a great way to give back to the community.”