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The Jab

First-hand accounts of getting the Covid-19 vaccines

by Trilby MacDonald

Published in March, 2021

Last week, we asked a2view readers to share their experiences with the Covid-19 vaccines. Forty-one people responded with accounts of how they got vaccinated, and three said they were still waiting.

By far the largest group was vaccinated at Rite Aid stores-one as far away as Alpena!-but quite a few reported success at the Washtenaw County Health Department, whose joint site with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital at the EMU Convocation Center received high marks for efficiency, helpful staff, and a pleasant experience all around. The St. Joseph Mercy - IHA network was also well represented. Only a few got their shots at Michigan Medicine, whose slowness to vaccinate patients drew negative comments. Others were vaccinated through senior-living communities, and a handful turned to hospitals in Detroit and Toledo. And the one respondent eligible for vaccination at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center got a next-day appointment within hours of signing up.

It came too late for some. Of all the stories shared with a2view, the hardest of all was from a man in his eighties who received the vaccine in mid-January through his long term care facility, just three weeks after his wife of sixty-one years died from the disease.

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No one reported strong negative side effects from the vaccine, but one respondent wrote that opted not to get vaccinated, saying that the CDC's emergency-use authorization fact sheets left him unconvinced of the vaccines' safety and efficacy.

Many people who were vaccinated through their healthcare providers felt like they won the lottery. While they were glad and grateful, it wasn't clear to them why they were selected apart from being in the right age group. Many of those people who were not so lucky signed up on multiple lists, including the county health department and pharmacies near and far.

For those, persistence was key. People who spent hours calling pharmacies and checking websites for appointment availability were eventually rewarded, including many who found it easier to get

...continued below...


appointments out of the county and drove, or were driven, many miles to get vaccinated. Several commented that the strategies that worked for them would have been impossible for folks who are not tech savvy, or who don't have access to a car. Frustrated with the slow pace and apparent randomness of vaccine allocation, and the difficulty securing a spot through nearby pharmacies, some called for a central clearinghouse where people could go to find out where vaccine appointments are currently available in their area.

DECLINED:

Kenneth:

I have decided not to get vaccinated based on the EUA fact sheets on the vaccines, published by the CDC.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/eua/index.html

Reading these data sheets is very enlightening.

STILL WAITING:

Steve:

I'm 62 with risk factors.signed up thru Washtenaw county health on 3/8/21. Also with IHA. Rite-aid Meijer and even the Packard Health clinic.

No appt yet.

Jenny:

I live in Ann Arbor and will be 80 this year and have registered since February at many different places including Washtenaw County Health, Michigan Medicine, Meijers, Packard Community Health etc etc, and never a response. I find it all rather frustrating and vaccine distribution unorganized!

I'm hoping with now 3 vaccines available maybe I will be given an appointment soon.

Sally:

I registered for any and all ways of receiving the Covid vaccination as I am a senior and at risk. I have had absolutely NO success, in spite of being a patient at Michigan Medicine, St. Joe's, and registered on Washtenaw county website months ago. I keep reading statistics in your paper about how many people have been vaccinated and how it's accelerating and reaching out to more and more people.

If they're missing me, they're missing lots of people in my situation.

RECEIVED

PHARMACIES:

Readers reported getting the vaccine at Rite-Aid locations across Lower Michigan and into Ohio.

Sandra:

I received my first vaccination today (3/11/2021) at Rite-Aid on Packard at Platt. I made the appointment 6-8 weeks ago. My first appointment had been scheduled for 2/11/2021, but due to a Rite-Aid scheduling snafu, it was postponed until today.

I received the Moderna vaccine. I was part of the over 65 group (I am 67), but in good health, with no complications or comorbidities.

I was on 3 other wait lists - MIchigan Medicine, Washtenaw County, and St. Joe's. Just this week (Monday) I was contacted by MI Med, and could have scheduled a vaccine for Tuesday March 9, but decided to keep my previously scheduled appointment with Rite-Aid.

Other than the initial hiccup, all else with the RIte-Aid process went smoothly. They texted to remind me 2 days and 1 day in advance of my appointment, and remind me of the necessary documents that I needed to have with me (Medicare Card, Other Insurance Card, Drug Provider Card). I was seen within 5 minutes of my appointment, had to fill out some paperwork with the information on my cards, was led into a small room, given the vaccine, and then asked to wait 15 minutes to make sure I did not have a reaction.

I was given a card, saying I had received the Moderna vaccine, and that my follow up would be in 4 weeks (April 8. The time was TBD, and I would be informed by Rite-Aid at some point in the future as to what time my vaccine appointment will be.

All in all, a fine experience, after the initial issue.

Nadine:

We live in Livingston County, work in Washtenaw and have not been able to procure a vaccine in either location. We are essential workers, working with retirees and senior citizens, so being safe is paramount to us.

We are going to Alpena to get the vaccine there, where our vacation cabin is located. They have an abundance of vaccines available and we are scheduled this week.



Macomb County, where my mother lives, has a much easier system, Tuesday mornings sign ups via phone or online. I was able to get her and her lady friends all scheduled for vaccines and completed with two doses, yet my clients and relatives in Livingston and Washtenaw are still waiting for first vaccines.



Why could we not have had several locations across the state and made public announcements, like Drive through available at Rock Financial for all 75+ whose last names start with A - C this week. If you need a ride, contact your local government office to arrange transportation? Any individuals who bring an older adult will also be eligible to be vaccinated. After nursing homes and first responders. We made this so very complicated.



Phyllis:

We are in our late 70s and had to hunt around for vaccine, but were able to get our first shots at a Rite Aid in Davison. Second shots scheduled for Mar. 24. No problem getting to Davison or with the vaccine (Moderna).

Pam:

I finally got my 1st vaccine. I scurried all over to find a place. Got it at Rite Aide in Belleville. I live on the far west side of A2.

I felt light-headed after the shot. My arm was a bit sore when touched. That's it.

Mary:

I am an 86 year old senior living in Ann Arbor. I had registered to get the vaccine with IHA, Meijer Pharmacy and Washtenaw County Health. After trying many times to register with Rite Aid and about to give up my daughter-in-law was able to get an appointment for me with Rite-Aid on Plymouth Rd. I received my first dose of Moderna vaccine on February 18 and will get my second dose, March 18. It takes a Village!

Lisa:

I received my shot at Rite Aid after someone else cancelled. The pharmacist was wonderful, easy to talk with, and even showed me a photo of their new baby! It was a wonderful experience.

I also took a friend of ours to the EMU Convo Center last Saturday. He has mobility issues, and no less than four people offered him wheelchair assistance. Fortunately, he's stubborn in a good way and declined help, instead walking in unassisted. As we entered the Convo Center, we were guided to a short-cut for folks with mobility and other issues. Not only was a nurse waiting for us (We were on time for his appointment.), but volunteers were there with "paperwork" we completed online. We didn't have to wait at all! A woman came by asking if we needed water, and offered each of us a bottle.

I was amazed at how well run and efficient everything was. The folks there, both staff and volunteers, were kind and thoughtful, looking out for each of the people coming for their vaccinations. Hats off to Washtenaw County for such a well-organized event, which continues. I am inspired and grateful.

Carl:

I received my first shot at the Rite Aid in Marshall, MI. My 2nd shot is scheduled for April 2.

My wife received her first shot through U of M her 2nd shot is in the 3rd week of March.

Peter:

After waiting since vaccinations became available - and having duly registered with UMHS - and after endless emails from UMHS, (like a bridegroom sitting on the edge of the bed and boasting about how "great it's going to be"), telling us how they would be getting vaccine "soon", we used a friend's adult daughter to find something for us.

We got our first injection five days later at a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Petoskey. (We're isolating at our other home in Lake Leelanau so it was only a two hour drive.) We are scheduled for our second injection on the 27th.

Three or four days after our first injection, we finally received an invitation to make an appointment at UMHS. Meh!!!

We have been regular patients at UMHS for decades. We've never set foot in the Petoskey Rite Aid.

I guess we came out ahead - - since the drive from here to Petoskey is only two hours and the drive to AA is something over four hours. But we think UMHS has managed distribution of its vaccine allocation VERY poorly.

Betty:

I got my first vaccine at Rite Aid and will get my second one this Saturday. I found out about the availability through an email from a friend who had heard about it. She emailed on Friday morning, I immediately got online and was able to get the vaccine the next day. Friends who tried to get online on Saturday were told there were no more vaccines available.

I've been on the list at IHA, U of M (my primary provider), the health department, Meijer, Cvs, and Walgreens. As of this date I have not heard from any of those facilities that I could sign up for an available vaccine through their facility.

I have found the entire process for 65+ to be totally unorganized in Washtenaw County. It's sort of like a lottery. If you get a notification from IHA or the UofM consider yourself lucky.

Now, I hear vaccines will be opened to anyone who wants one as of May 1. Great idea! I just hope there is notification as to where the vaccines are available. At this point people seem to just have to randomly wait until they hear something through the grapevine.

I understand the complexity of distributing so many vaccines, but they should have a streamlined, easy process for folks. What about people who don't have internet or don't understand how to google? If there is a central clearing house, why not advertise that via radio, TV, etc. I hope the process progresses more smoothly going forward.

Ann:

I found an appointment opening at a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Lansing. There were no appointments available locally in the Ann Arbor area, so therefore I looked outside my area. I was willing to drive to receive this vaccination. My second dose will be next week.

Janet:

I got my first dose at Rite Aid in Canton 2 weeks ago. (No side effects.). Couldn't find an appointment closer to Ann Arbor. A neighbor texted me about Rite Aid scheduling appointments. I hopped online immediately. Took a few tries to make it through all the questions, the first few tries when I finished answering the questions my chosen date/time/location had been snagged by another person. But persistence paid off.

I let the son of my 80 year old neighbor know about the opportunity to schedule a vaccine for her. He was successful in getting her an appointment. I worry about elderly who are not computer-savvy and those who are not "in the loop" on how to snag an appointment.

Marija:

I got myself and my husband on the list right away at Meijer in Ann Arbor and I also checked with St. Joe's to make sure we would be contacted from there if our names came up to get vaccinated. Then I heard from my brother that he and his wife had already gotten the vaccine at the Meijer in Jackson so I got on the list there as well. When Rite Aid started getting supplies of the vaccine, I got on their website. I found that none of the Rite Aids in the immediate vicinity of Ann Arbor had available appointments so I started looking further out. I got an appointment for my husband in Jackson and got myself an appointment in Eaton Rapids for a few weeks later. Then I heard from my neighbor that I would not be able to get an accurate mammogram done right after the vaccine. Since I had a mammogram scheduled for the day after my appointment in Eaton Rapids, I got back online and changed that appointment to one after my mammogram in Marshall. Still I kept checking to see if I could find something closer. This entailed checking a number of sites every day.

When my husband's appointment in Jackson got closer the Rite Aid there contacted him to let him know that they were going to have to move his appointment down a few weeks because the major snowfall we got in February had delayed their shipment of the vaccine. So I got back online and this time I found I could get us both an appointment at a RiteAid in Sylvania, Ohio. By then I was also on the list to get a vaccine appointment through the county. When I had tried that earlier in the process I had not been able to get on their list because at that time they were encouraging people who regularly got their health care through one of the local hospitals to go through them instead. I also was staying up past midnight every night trying to get a local appointment since people were mentioning online that the vaccine appointments opened up at midnight.

Finally I heard from Meijer in Jackson that they had an appointment available. When I asked if both of us could get an appointment they said that was fine so I signed up both my husband and myself and we finally got our first vaccine shots at the end of February. It was only a 20 minute ride to Jackson so that part was easy. There was a bit of a wait at the pharmacy since Meijer was no longer doing separate clinics for the vaccinations and the pharmacists were administering the shots in between all their other regular work. But they were very nice and we were thrilled to get the vaccines. I had a bit of a sore shoulder the next day for an hour or so and later that evening I had a headache. My husband had no side effects from the vaccine. We will be returning to Jackson at the end of March to get the second shots.

I do feel that the county has not been real great at this whole process of getting people scheduled for the vaccine appointments. I have heard of widely different experiences that people have had in getting the appointments. One friend was able to get not one but two vaccine appointments in a single day early in February - one through St. Joe's and another through the county. Ironically each one was cancelled because of the big snowstorm but then she was able to get an alternative appointment less than a week later. Another friend only recently got an appointment in Sylvania, Ohio. I find it very disappointing that people's primary care physicians were left out of the loop of deciding who should get the vaccine first. My husband has lung cancer and COPD but got no priority in getting an appointment. I think it's a shame that people who are not particularly computer savvy are being affected so detrimentally in this whole process.

Bob:

I received my first jab a few weeks ago in Ohio at a Rite Aid. No pain with the injection, no unpleasant aftereffects, and I am so glad I received it...actually thankful and joyful. I received the Pfizer vaccine.

Jab number two is this week, and I am hoping for the same result! If booster shots are needed down the road, then sign me up!

IHA / St. Joe's

The hospital and physician network were the second most-frequently mentioned vaccine source.

Beth:

I am a teacher and we have been teaching in person since the beginning of the school year. I got my vaccination at St. Joe's in Chelsea. Our principal was very hands-on with helping our staff locate places to get a vaccine appointment and I was one of the first people on our staff to be vaccinated. I received my two doses of the Moderna vaccine on January 14th and February 11th. I had some mild lower GI side-effects for 12 hours after my first dose and had some pretty intense flu-like symptoms after my second dose, but I was almost happy to feel so sick, because it was a physical manifestation of my immune system telling me it was getting to work.

Katie:

I got the first dose back in late January and my second dose on February 15th. I am a full time teacher who is also in grad school at Eastern and was able to get an appointment scheduled within a week of vaccines being available for Tier 1b since they asked all students to fill out a survey to use for offering doses to students and staff on campus. Eastern is working with St Joe's to vaccinate the EMU community. It took me a few tries to get the first appointment because they kept getting booked before I could finish filling in my information, but that honestly was the most difficult part. Both times I was checked in and received the shot within 10 minutes of parking at the hospital and was out right after the 15 minute monitoring period, it was so smooth

Grant:

Per your email newsletter today, I'm responding to your interest in our vaccination experience:

I was vaccinated at IHA Domino's Farms - 1st shot on Jan. 20, 2nd shot on Feb. 17 (Moderna).

I'm an IHA patient & over 70 w/ a chronic condition. IHA notified me that I was eligible for vaccination, so I immediately scheduled it.

Peter:

My wife, Anita, and I both received IHA invitations in late January and we received both of our Moderna vaccinations at IHA East at Domino's Farms. A mile from our home. We did nothing special, except to win the invitation lottery. We were both in the priority age group at that time. We had no problems at all. We each received text messages to check our MyChart which had a message inviting us to schedule. I was scheduled for three days after the notice and my wife for 45 minutes after she found an open time. Fortunately we live only 5 minutes away from IHA East.

Norm:

I am a Ski Patroller (similar to basic EMT) and had signed up through the hill I patrol at for "early responder" vaccination.

IHA contacted me and I got my shot on 3/1.

Didn't feel it go in, sore about 4 hours later, and went away after about 24hours.

Felt weak and lethargic for about 3~5days (I could work, and do things, but didn't feel like exercising, etc.).

My second dose was planned 3/20, but has now been extended to 3/39 due to travel, on a trip which had been cancelled last year due to Covid (there is no way I am going to risk feeling sick/in bed for half of that trip!). I'll get it 3/29, as soon as I get back (well within the CDC recommended 42 day max).

IHA has told me they are doing so well with distribution and supply that they are now taking reservations from everyone in their system over 50.

Patricia:

IHA Domino Farms, March 4. Waited to be notified by email that appointments were available.

Efficient and professional, supportive and friendly.

Michael:

My wife and I were signed up through MyChart at IHA/St Joe and Michigan Medicine. We were sent an invitation by Email from the IHA MyChart system at 8:30PM one Saturday night. We immediately went online through MyChart and got signed up at the IHA Urgent Care facility at Domino's Farms. I had a very easy time because I had recently completed my annual wellness checkup and they did a lot of record updating of MyChart on the way into my appointment. My wife was not as well documented and had to suffer through page after page of not very clear questions and procedures. After an hour of fiddling, she too got an appointment, but it was 30 minutes after mine.



On the appointed day we arrived, and everything was handled smoothly by friendly people who guided us through the process. Even though my wife's appointment was 30minute later, they put us through together. There were no delays, and we were through the process in 30 about minutes.



The second shot was scheduled but had to be rescheduled to several days later because the snowstorm delayed distribution of the vaccine in many parts of the country including Michigan. Getting the shot was just as smooth as the first time.

Beth:

I received the Moderna vaccine through IHA - I'm 78. No reaction - grateful to get it. No wait. My primary care doctors office (IHA) contacted me in January and offered an appt almost immediately at their vaccine clinic. I received my second 2/16 at the same clinic. It was easy to schedule.

Karen:

In response to your request for our stories about Covid vaccinations, I'm 70 and am now (thankfully) fully vaccinated. I registered with IHA, Michigan Medicine, and the Washtenaw County public health department. IHA came through for me first, then the county. Never heard from UM. I got the Pfizer vaccine at IHA West Arbor first on January 30th (sore arm for a day and a half), then on February 20th (sore arm, swollen lymph nodes in my neck, very tired the next day - not bad at all). I feel both grateful and relieved.



On a minor side note, I find it weird that in this day and age and in tech-savvy Ann Arbor, the only proof of vaccination you're given is a little paper card with a hand-written note that says the dates you got vaccinated and which vaccine you got. I took a front/back picture on my phone, but someone should come up with a phone app.

WASHTENAW COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The WCHD and its mass vaccination sites at the EMU convocation center and St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea were the other major source of vaccines for our respondents.



Marcia:

My experience getting a vaccine was easy, as both the Washtenaw County Health Department and my employer contacted me on the same day in early January. (I am a home health aide I received my first dose on Jan. 12.) However, my clients (husband & wife), couldn't be more extreme. The husband, a U of M professor, who has chosen not to teach this year and is isolating at home, was signed up by U of M even before they received the vaccine. He received his first dose even before I did. He and his wife are both over ninety. His wife, who is legally blind, is still waiting to hear from IHA or U of M, where she has been a patient. I was able to get her an appointment at a Rite Aid in Centerline (the closest location I could find) for Feb. 24. That appointment was cancelled, due to lack of vaccine, and rescheduled for a time when I am not available to drive her. I tried to change the appointment online but there was no option to change an appointment. We called the Rite Aid in Centerline, but the call was rerouted to a nearby Rite Aid in Warren.

The pharmacist kindly listened to our dilemma and offered to give her a shot that same day. I was unable to drive her that day due to a work conflict, so they said to come 2 days later (Feb.26). We did and she received her first dose. They said her second dose would be scheduled automatically and it was. But then that appointment was cancelled for an unknown reason. I followed the link provided and was unable to schedule another appointment. (None were available although I tried both that same day and the next. I looked all over SE Michigan.) We called the Rite Aid in Centerline again and a pharmacist reluctantly scheduled her for March 26. If that is cancelled it will be more than 4 weeks since her first dose. We shall see.

Ray:

I received my vaccine through the Washtenaw County Health Department at EMU back in January as a dentist health care provider

Lance:

The Washtenaw County Health Dept provided me two doses of the Pfizer vaccine during February. Both visits were remarkable in how well organized the process was. Multiple stations, no lines, everyone was instructive and polite. My personal experience with the vaccine itself was a complete non-event; no symptoms whatsoever.

Anonymous:

I'm over 65 and registered with Washtenaw County Health Department in January and finally received a vaccine appointment for March 4 with the second appointment scheduled on March 25. Both appointments are scheduled at the EMU Convocation Center.

Even though I'm a Michigan Medicine patient with an active portal, I have not been contacted at all for an appointment contrary to what they have posted via emails. I also registered on-line with Meijers and have never been contacted by them as well.

Anita:

Thank you, Washtenaw County Health Dept. for vaccinating my husband & me, both in our 70s, on March 3rd. Painless 1st shot, 2nd shot due in the middle of next week!

Hillary:

I received mine from the Washtenaw County Health Department at their vaccination site at EMU's Convocation Center. I got the Pfizer vaccine - first shot Feb. 18; 2nd shot March 11. I signed up on their website with the help of my doctor's office as soon as vaccinations were announced to MI residents 65 and older. Because I have doctors in both the U of M system and St. Joe's Trinity Health System I was nominally eligible that way as well.

Because I was getting announcements from Michigan Medicine and IHA/Trinity Health I had a chance to compare what kind of communication was being disseminated to Washtenaw County residents. Here are some of the things I observed.

Washtenaw County was hands down the best of the three organizations at providing clear and helpful information. They ran a great vaccination site, had actual people to talk to in advance of the vaccine, and were stellar in terms of their communication. I am immensely grateful I was randomly chosen for a vaccine through their site.

Michigan Medicine was practically impossible. For a major hospital, they created a website that was almost comical in how not to communicate with ones constituents: pompous gatekeepers who spent more time telling you whatever you do, do no ask questions, do not try to call your doctors, do not try to call Michigan Medicine, do not, do not, do not. The site had what I assume they thought was an appealing figure who would answer questions but whatever I asked the response was "That is an invalid question." For example, how will I know when I have received an invitation to make a vaccine appointment. That is an invalid question. In the end, I felt kind of conned by Michigan Medicine. At first they made it seem like if you had a doctor in their system, you had nothing to worry about and you should just relax and trust them to see that you received your turn for a vaccine in due time. Later, their announcements were kind of like - well that was silly of you to plan on us, you should have been making other plans all along.

Trinity Health/IHA was somewhere in between these other two. Not so forthcoming at first but quite steady in their announcements and in putting out vaccine invitations. I received the potential for a vaccine appointment from them as well, after I had already received my vaccines from the County so I tried to follow their instructions so I could get to the prompt that would allow me to tell them I had already received a vaccine. As far as I could tell, there was never an opportunity for that though maybe I just didn't find it. The County was collecting that information and gave you an opportunity to let them know early in the form that you had found another resource. In general I found the Trinity Health site harder to navigate than the County site.

MICHIGAN MEDICINE

Though Michigan Medicine administered tens of thousands of vaccines to its staff, reduced supplies from the state slowed patient vaccinations to a crawl for much of February and March.

Ed:

My wife and I work for Michigan Medicine so we got our shots at the football stadium in the second wave of participants. It was easy and neither of us had any reaction.

Janet:

We are registered through:

Michigan Health

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital

Meijer

Rite-Aid

Washtenaw County

I waited for over a month before receiving an invitation from Michigan Health. We live in Ann Arbor and my appointment was at the Michigan Health facility in Brighton in early February. I have since had my second vaccine also in Brighton. The vaccine I was given was Moderna.

My husband, who has a lung condition, was notified just recently (2nd week of March) of the availability to receive a vaccine. Because he had not been notified when I was, we scheduled his vaccine (with a great deal of effort) through Rite-Aid for February 17th. His 2nd shot is scheduled for March 17th. Although both of us have registered with all of the above entities, we've not been contacted by Washtenaw County, St. Joseph, or Meijer.

I understand that Michigan Health's system was to randomly select those invited to receive the vaccine. This "random" selection bothered me because of my husband's lung condition. He certainly is of age and I thought that his medical condition would have put him more or less at the head of the line, ahead of me however, I received my invitation 3 weeks prior to when he received his.

We are grateful and feel blessed that we've both been vaccinated and feel a bit "freer" now and can begin to make plans to travel to see our daughters and their families.

BEAUMONT

Several readers got their shots at the Detroit-area Beaumont system.

Barbara:

I live in northwest AA but got my vaccine at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn. At the time, it was the only place I could schedule my shot.

I registered through UM, Meijer and the Washtenaw Health Department, but have not heard back from any of them. I have since learned that they will call and if you don't answer your cell phone, you lose out. No one ever told me to answer unsolicited phone calls (I never do) so had I not tried and succeeded with Beaumont, I would not have had my vaccine by now.

This is how I got my appointment in February:

1) First I had to create a "my chart" account.

2) Then I called Beaumont repeatedly for 2 hours until I got through to someone who could schedule me.

3) My first vaccine was on 2/15.

4) My second vaccine will be on 3/15. I had the Maderna vaccine.

Barb:

I noted that nobody I knew was getting an invite from UM portal (Last Friday I noticed they were just opening up to 1b!), but that Beaumont seemed more efficient in this vaccine delivery, so was able to go over there and get one. It was 100s of seniors and only a 40 minute wait. My 2 week safety wait after 2nd was yesterday, perfect timing it seemed from the start. Disappointed in UM as it seemed they vaccinated all their university campus folks as well, and lagged way behind other counties in the 1b group. I didn't give to yesterday's Blue Day, a first!

The 100s of FB folks and other friends I knew in 1b all got shots in this county through IHA, and then when Rite-Aid opened several weeks back, that was a good spot. Some traveled to Brighton's Rite-Aid, while others grabbed one at day's end at a pharmacy. One just got an apptmt. at Kroger's.

I know only one person in 1b who got an invite through UM, and she was a spouse of a UM person. Oh, and I got one as a p.t. LEO, but already had Beaumont pretty well begun; I think my UM status gained that invite; nobody else I've heard about or know has received the UM portal invite?

PACKARD HEALTH

Pat:

I am 80 years old and got excited when they announced the vaccine. Michigan Medicine said I was on their list. When nothing happened, I signed up with the county and Meijer's and finally got an appointment with Rite-aid about 45 minutes away. Two days before that appointment I got a call from my Primary Care group at Packard Health. I could get the shot there in 2 days and it's about 1/2 mile away. I jumped at that chance, got my first shot 2 weeks ago and am scheduled for the second one. Spent some time on the internet and waited about 6 weeks but am very satisfied. So far just a sore arm. Very grateful for Packard Health.

Other hospitals and senior residences

Individual readers also reported getting vaccinated through the VA Hospital and the ProMedica hospital in Toledo, the Packard Health community clinics, and the EHM, Glacier Hills, and Story Point senior residences.

Chris:

I have received the 1st vaccine shot.

I received it through the Ann Arbor Veterans Admin Med Center on March 4th, and am scheduled to receive the 2nd shot.

I'm well aware of what this virus can do to people. I have been following the vaccine sourcing procedure pretty much like most of us: Through my health provider (IHA), joining texting/mailing lists such as Meijer, RiteAid, checking online info, and signing up for Vets Admin info, even though I hadn't ever applied for VA med treatment. I also knew I was down the list given my age group (60), and other than being overweight, am healthy.

My most pressing concern was finding vaccines for my mother-in-law (Oakland County, eventually found), my wife (recently found), my two-adult-aged children (one next week), and other family members with potentially weakened systems (a couple over the last couple of weeks).

As for my vaccination:

As noted above, I had previously signed up for COVID19 info from the Vets Admin. I wasn't sure what to expect since I've always used private health coverage, having never taken advantage of the VA, other than while serving, of course.

A few weeks ago, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell hosted a zoom meeting for veterans with representatives of the Southeast Michigan VA Hospital system. I found it quite informative, with the best piece of information being that the VA was encouraging all veterans to apply for health benefits now in order to be verified as eligible and in the VA Health system. Also, I think I learned of that zoom presentation via that Vets Admin info notice program.

Shortly after the zoom presentation, I received a couple emails through my veterans group noting the potential for VA COVID19 vaccine shots. I figured I might as well apply now to get into the system, thinking it would take the VA/Govt weeks to verify my eligibility.

I filed online early on March 3rd, 2021; a few hours later, I received an email message suggesting the Michigan VA was now taking eligible vets of all ages. A number was provided to call, and I made the call, although I did not think there was any chance I'd have been verified in four to five hours. However, not only was I verified, I was offered a shot the next morning, March 4th, 2021, plus scheduled for my 2nd shot, on March 25th, 2021 ... all within 24hrs (so much for a form of socialized medicine, eh?).

David:

Where and when did you get your shot:

Toledo, OH, ProMedica Toledo Hospital, last week in February, Pfizer Vaccine.

Second shot scheduled for mid-March, same place.

Note: even though my wife and I are Michigan residents, there was no issue getting vaccinated in Ohio. It was efficient to schedule and they had a very pleasant, well-organized, and quick process in place the day we got vaccinated. They even put us in a large auditorium with an old Chevy Chase movie playing on the big screen while we stayed the mandated 15-minutes post shot waiting period. We almost didn't want to leave!

What steps did you take to get it?

After waiting, and waiting, and waiting to hear from Washtenaw County Health, or Michigan Medicine, Rite Aid opened up their appointment site and we were among the lucky ones who got appointments for mid-February on the first day their website opened. But then our first doses were cancelled due to the nationwide weather delay, and we were pushed to mid-March for dose 1. A few days later we were alerted to the fact that Toledo had a large number of available appointments for the last week in February , so we jumped on the site, and were able to make appointments for the same time and place for the end of that week. We received our first shots together at the end of February and our second shots are scheduled for mid-March. The relatively easy drive to Toledo was well worth avoiding the frustration and stress encountered by many people (including us) still trying to navigate the local Michigan/Washtenaw County scheduling process.

Sandra:

I'm 89 years old and am on the U of M list, but to date have never yet gotten an invitation from them to get the vaccine. However I am now fully vaccinated with both shots, thanks to the Life Choices long-term care program that I belong to. This program is run by EHM Senior Solutions in Saline, MI and they received enough vaccine to take care of all of their members. I live at Brookhaven Manor, a senior apartment residence, and they are getting ready to give the second shot to all residents who haven't received the vaccine elsewhere.

Tim:

I reside at Glacier Hills Senior Living Center. CVS came and vaccinated me with both injections. I'm happy to have that behind me. Now waiting for visitation restrictions to be lifted. We're getting there.

Bernie:

I live at StoryPoint in Saline, a senior living facility. Our shots were well organized for the first dose on January 12 and the second, and first for some, on February 9. Last doses given on March 9. All appeared to go smoothly.

I had no side effects at all (I'm 87). Sadly my wife of 61 years, who also lived here, got Covid in December and died from it on 12/22. She was 84.     (end of article)

[Originally published in March, 2021.]

 


 
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