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1 new death reported as vaccinations ramp up

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Alpena Senior Citizens Center receptionist Kendra Tuscher takes a call today at the center in Alpena, which is helping those 65 and older who do not have internet access to pre-register for a coronavirus vaccine appointment.

ALPENA — Local public health officials couldn’t say today whether recently spoiled coronavirus vaccine shipments would affect upcoming vaccination clinics.

State health officials said on Tuesday that 21 shipments of the Moderna vaccine were spoiled en route to Michigan after the shipment got too cold. The Detroit Free Press reported those shipments contained 11,900 doses.

Local officials couldn’t say if those shipments were destined for Northeast Michigan and referred questions to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which also couldn’t say.

“I do not know specific locations,” MDHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said in an email to The News today. “However, all vaccine has been or will be replaced by (today).”

The chart below shows the number of coronavirus vaccines administered across Alpena, Presque Isle, Montmorency, and Alcona counties. Story continues below the chart.

The majority of the 21 shipments were resent on Monday night, the rest on Tuesday.

Shipments to MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, which received the Pfizer vaccine, were not affected, spokeswoman Millie Jezior said.

The spoiled Moderna vaccines were shipped on Sunday by McKesson, which was “working quickly to repack additional vaccines to ship out as replacement doses for those that may be compromised,” state health officials said in a press release.

An additional six shipments were held back to check that there were no issues with the vaccine, which may delay scheduled vaccinations at those six vaccine provider sites.

McKesson is investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, local public health officials today reported one more Alcona County resident had died after being infected with COVID-19 as vaccinations ramped up in Northeast Michigan.

Nearly 1,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations hit the arms of residents of Alpena and Cheboygan counties on Monday and Tuesday, health officials reported today.

State data showed that, as of Tuesday, 4,492 doses of coronavirus vaccine had been administered across Alpena, Presque Isle, Montmorency, and Alcona counties.

Flip through the interactive timeline below to see how the coronavirus spread through Northeast Michigan. Story continues below the timeline.

More than 25,000 Northeast Michigan residents are eligible for vaccines as part of the first wave of recipients, which includes people 65 or older, essential workers such as police officers, first responders, and teachers and childcare providers.

Appointment-only clinics will be held today at the Eagles Club in Atlanta, Jan. 28 at the Alpena Mall, and Jan. 29 at the Case Township Community Center in Millersburg. Pre-register for appointments at dhd4.org or dhd2.org.

Public health officials on today reported 11 newly infected Northeast Michiganders, including three Alpena County residents, three Presque Isle County residents, three Montmorency County residents, and two Alcona County residents.

As of Monday, 10 people were hospitalized at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, none in intensive care, according to state data. The hospital was 39% full.

As of today, 60 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection across the state-designated, 18-county health care region that includes Alpena, Presque Isle, and Montmorency counties, according to state data.

Since the pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March, 2,633 Northeast Michiganders have been infected, according to local public health agencies. Of those, 87 have died.

The Health Department is currently accepting COVID-19 vaccine pre-registrations for those 65 years and older, healthcare workers, and essential workers such as police, firefighters, teachers and child care workers.

Health Officer Denise Bryan told her board on Tuesday many of the elderly need assistance because they do not have access to the internet. She said Health Department officials must continue to improve the system and have reached out to the Alpena County Commission on Aging for help.

The Alpena Senior Citizens Center today began pre-registering seniors who do not have access to the internet today. The center can be reached by calling 989-356-3585.

COVID-19 vaccine: frequently asked questions

Who’s currently eligible to receive the vaccine?

Those 65 and over, health care workers, police, firefighters, teachers and child care workers.

How do I get an appointment?

Pre-register online (preferred) at dhd4.org, dhd2.org, or clinic.meijer.com. Residents of Alpena, Presque Isle, or Montmorency counties can call 989-356-4507 and choose option 1.

What if I don’t have the internet?

The Alpena Senior Citizens Center can help. Call 989-356-3585.

Vaccination FAQs by Justin Hinkley

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