Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford Health System’s chief clinical officer, said the six-hospital health system plans to ramp up the number of vaccine doses between 4,000 to 5,000, up from about 1,100 to 1,300 per day, but only if the Detroit-based system receives more Pfizer doses from the state.
“We received a very small allocation this week. We are identifying people in our medical records over age 65 who fit the criteria for vaccination,” Munkarah said. “We are working with the state on vaccine availability. The state’s doses are based on what they receive from the federal government and the numbers are not enough.”
Munkarah said Henry Ford would also run out of vaccines by Tuesday or Wednesday if it doesn’t receive another large shipment. He said the system asked the state for 20,000 doses last week and only got about 6,000.
“We need to have more consistency” and advance notice of the vaccine shipments so Henry Ford can schedule ahead appointments more than a week in advance, Munkarah said. “We can do 30,000 shots per week if we know we have it. We can make sure we accelerate the number of new sites. We need to know what size they can be (to avoid) regulatory hurdles.”
Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Health and Human Services announced the federal government will no longer hold back required second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, practically doubling supply.
In a reversal from CDC policy, the federal government said states should immediately start vaccinating other groups lower down the priority scale, including people 65 and older, and younger people with certain health problems.
Michigan was one of the first states on Monday to authorize vaccinations of those 65 or older.
Wilson said Beaumont also is working with local health departments in the counties where they have hospitals to assist with vaccinations of teachers and first responders. The Michigan National Guard also has been helpful in assisting with clinical and administrative support staff.
“(Local health departments) aren’t standing up clinics fast enough for their first responders, so we are helping and taking people over age 65,” Wilson said. “We had the opportunity to have National Guard in the clinic for us. It is helpful to have them staffing with us and intermixed with nurses and pharmacists.”
Wilson said with more vaccines, Beaumont could open clinics in Troy and Dearborn.
“We want to vaccinate as many people in the community as possible. We believe the vaccine is safe and effective,” said Wilson, adding the system will not accept walk-ins because of limited supplies and social distancing needs.
Trinity is working with local health departments, including Washtenaw County, to help with staffing on vaccine administration. She said Trinity will help staff a clinic at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center when more vaccine is available.
So far, the Washtenaw County Health Department’s EMU’s vaccination center has eight to 14 vaccination stations operating and can inoculate up to 1,000 people a day, said Susan Ringler Cerniglia, the department’s spokeswoman.
“We’re working toward that as soon as we have sufficient vaccine to do 5,000 a week,” Ringler Cerniglia said.
Tocco-Bradley said other Trinity hospitals are partnering with county health departments to help vaccinate teachers and frontline health care workers.
“Right now, because we don’t have enough vaccines, we may have to pause on vaccines to teachers and others,” Tocco-Bradley said. “Some health departments have zero vaccines and are sending (age 65 and other people) to us.”
beginning Friday, Trinity’s call center started getting thousands more calls than normal. Usually, the call centers gets 2,200 calls per week, but Friday got more than 6,000 calls about the vaccines and the system continues to receive record numbers of calls this week.
“At two of our hospitals, we had hundreds of people just show up ” wanting a vaccine, Tocco-Bradley said. “We are having them fill out a form, taking their names. And if we don’t have appointments, we’re putting them into an organized database so that we can reach back out to them to schedule. … The public is incredibly frustrated.”
As of Monday night, Trinity had vaccinated 24,300 health care workers at between 1,400 to 2,000 per day.
“We could do 4,250 doses each day if we had the vaccines,” she said.
Last Thursday, Trinity asked for 14,000 doses for its eight hospitals. It received 5,000 but 4,800 went to Trinity’s Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids and St. Joseph Oakland Hospital in Pontiac received 975 doses.
“Six of our eight hospitals didn’t receive any,” she said. Those hospitals are located in Ann Arbor, Muskegon, Livonia and Chelsea. “It’s a lack of transparency. We don’t understand.”
On Monday, Tocco-Bradley said Trinity will run out of doses unless it is resupplied by the state.
“They (federal government) told us that they would send separately the second doses and we would have a separate line of requests, and those would be guaranteed,” Tocco-Bradley said. ” And we are not receiving those second doses that were promised.”