Northern Michigan County Becomes First in State to Surpass 50% COVID-19 Vaccination

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Leelanau County has vaccinated 52% of its population aged 16 and over, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Lisa Peacock, head of health for the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, said she and her staff have taken this step with community support.

“We never know for sure exactly why things are happening, but I can tell you for sure that in County Leelanau we just had such good partnerships throughout this whole pandemic response,” he said. she declared.

Peacock said those partnerships started early in the pandemic, when people volunteered to help hang signs announcing testing and masking requirements for employees. She said this continued with teenagers discussing with their classmates how to protect their families from the virus, and neighboring health services donating doses of the vaccine.

Presque Isle County had the second highest vaccination rate in the state, at just under 49% in state data.

District 4 health department covers this county. Cathy Goike, the department’s head of public information, said hitting the 50% milestone “was not magic.”

“There is a desire to get vaccinated in this community,” she said.

Yet, Peacock said, reaching the remaining unvaccinated population is becoming increasingly difficult.

“It’s definitely more difficult. I don’t know if I can quantify this in any way, but it’s already more difficult, ”she said. “Working on a waiting list, as demanding as it can be at times, is certainly easier than providing outreach and education opportunities to the community. “

Peacock said health department staff are running pop-up clinics at grocery stores and apartment complexes, and like many state health departments, their clinics no longer require appointments.

“You can walk right away,” Peacock said.

Removing barriers of convenience, getting doses to those who would have difficulty getting to an immunization clinic, and working to allay concerns about vaccine safety will be the keys to achieving immunization rates of 70%. or more necessary to achieve collective immunity, she said. .

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