Calhoun County is gearing up vaccinations of school personnel this week, but the problem is that we’re not getting enough of the vaccine.

Calhoun County Health Department officer Eric Pessell was on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins, who joked that storing the vaccine could be done this week by putting it outside in the snowbank.   But Pessell reminded listeners that that wouldn’t even be anywhere close to cold enough.  “No, it's gotta be minus 96 Fahrenheit to store the Pfizer vaccine”, said Pessell.  He said the Moderna vaccine can be stored at a warmer temperature.  “I believe it's 20 minus Fahrenheit, so you still couldn't throw it out in a snowbank.”

Pessell said the county had a great vaccination event over the weekend and Oaklawn Hospital had three events on Saturday that focused on senior citizens.

“I think we had just about 900 seniors that went through on a snowy and cold Saturday.   Almost all of those folks that had appointments showed up despite tough weather conditions.”

Pessell says that this week they have some schools on the schedule, including Battle Creek Public Schools, and he said some private schools in the area are going to come to a clinic this week.  “That's going to be a big one.  About 700 people will be vaccinated, so it's moving along well.”   Pessell said it's not mandated, but every staff person that works in a K through 12 schools are eligible to be vaccinated next.  That includes regular volunteers, extracurricular staff like coaches, substitute teachers, and contract workers including bus drivers. “I think there might be one or two schools that are just under 70% of staff willing to get the vaccine right now.”

But Pessell says the problem right now is that we need more vaccines for Calhoun County.

“Right now the state is splitting our supply between Pfizer and Modurna. Over the next three weeks, we're getting 400 doses of Modurna every week.  Hopefully, three weeks from now, we'll start to get even more Pfizer and we'll be able to increase our scheduling, but it's still a problem.”   He said they normally get 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but this week Calhoun County did not get any first-dose supply of the Pfizer vaccine.

Pessell says they have some big second-dose clinics coming up this week, as a follow-up to first dose clinics held three weeks ago.  “We'll always have the second dose available, so people don't need to worry about that.  It's just whether or not we can run more first-doses.  It’s a week-to-week thing”.

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