Health department expands eligibility in Central Michigan

Anyone age 50 and older, regardless of health, among those added to list

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Central Michigan District Health Department has expanded eligibility for individuals seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.

As of March 8, essential workers, all adults aged 50 and older, and caregivers of individuals with special needs and live and work in the health department's six-county region may now self-schedule their own appointment at cmdhd.org. CDHD serves Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon counties.

Frontline/Essential workers now eligible include:

• Food processing and migrant/seasonal farm workers (further defined here)

• Utilities and energy services workers

• Critical manufacturing workers

• Public transit workers

• Grocery store workers

• U.S. Postal Service workers

• Local government workers

• Non-hospital laboratories

• Veterinary clinic staff

NOTE: Restaurant workers are NOT currently eligible to receive the vaccine. CMDHD will notify the public when this changes.

Other groups now eligible are adults 50 and older with or without a medical condition and caregivers of individuals with special needs.

The latter category includes caregiver family members and guardians age 16 and over of children or adults with special health care needs, including any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.

“As we continue to receive more vaccine, we are able to adjust the priority groups to allow more individuals to be vaccinated. This is an exciting development as we continue to move forward towards the state’s goal of getting 70% of Michiganders age 16 and up vaccinated as quickly as possible, Steve Hall, health officer for Central Michigan District Health Department, said in a news release.

Health officials ask the public to please be patient as it continues with its vaccination efforts to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. They suggest checking cmdhd.org often for new clinics. For help scheduling, please call 2-1-1.

"We also encourage our community members to help their friends, family and neighbors who do not have internet access schedule an appointment through our website," they said in the release.

The expansion is happening in conjunction with the following members of the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance: Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, District Health Department No. 2, District Health Department No. 4, District Health Department #10, Grand Traverse County Health Department, and Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

This decision was made among our health officers to meet our unique community needs and differs from the guidance set by the State of Michigan. Local health departments are responsible for oversight and implementation of the vaccine strategy within their jurisdictions. They play a crucial convening and coordination role in both the distribution and administration of vaccine.

For more information, visit michigan.gov/coronavirus, cdc.gov/coronavirus and cmdhd.org/novel-coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit michigan.gov/covidvaccine.

Central Michigan District Health Department serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola, and Roscommon. For more information, visit at cmdhd.org, LIKE Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @CMiDHD.