Wayne County has rolled out a new “Public Health Senior Vaccination Program,” simultaneously vaccinating seniors age 65 and older in the most expedient way to fight COVID-19. However, the City of Taylor is currently waiting in line behind several other communities on the roll out list, and the entire program depends on how many vaccine dosages are allocated to the county, and when those shipments become available.
Taylor is among the "blue" regional grouping of nearly 300,000 people ages 65 and older in a dozen communities. Vaccinations will come to the City after Romulus, Wayne, Westland and Belleville. The groupings, and the order of vaccinations, were based on a Social Vulnerability Index (SVI -- see photo below), which accounts for 15 different socio-economic factors that affect the health and wellness of a community’s residents. This is done to get vaccine to the most vulnerable residents first.
Once the communities were ranked by region and SVI, Health Department staff took the available doses the county will receive for the coming week and divided into equal amounts. That amount becomes the number of first doses delivered in each region for that week. Health Department staff then starts with the most at-risk communities in each region, based on SVI, and works to schedule a clinic with local municipalities, or host it at one of the county sites if that is more convenient.
Local municipalities will handle the scheduling of the vaccine appointments once the times are put into place. This is the same process the county followed for prioritizing vaccination for school districts, with the school districts scheduling the appointments.
However, DO NOT CALL the City of Taylor with specific inquiries right now, because we do not have any more information on scheduling. City switchboards across Wayne County have been overwhelmed with callers seeking information that is not available. As soon as the City of Taylor receives specific scheduling from Wayne County, it will announce that information.
Q: When will my community be scheduled?
A: This will be determined by the SVI for each community in each of four regions created by Wayne County. This is the order the county is following, and Taylor is fifth in its region (behind Romulus, Wayne, Westland and Belleville). The timing of when a clinic will be scheduled in Taylor depends on how much vaccine the county receives each week from the state of Michigan. The number of doses the county will receive for the coming week is not known until Friday of the week before.
Q: What happens if we have more seniors who want to receive a vaccine than we have vaccine allotted?
A: Each community will receive a sufficient supply of the vaccine, based on availability. If more is needed, additional vaccine clinic days will be scheduled until every senior who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated.
Q: Why is the positivity rate or case rate excluded from rankings?
A: Case rates are variable. The Social Vulnerability Index does not change based on the number of cases in a community. This gives us a standard measurement to base rankings on. Case data as it is collected by the state does not provide a positivity rate for individual communities, just countywide.
Q: Why are communities with smaller senior populations going ahead of ones with more seniors?
A: Communities are ranked in each region based on the SVI for that community. Vaccine doses remain limited and we need to prioritize distribution based on the amount the county receives each week.
Q: Why use the federal Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to determine which community goes first?
A: The SVI is calculated the same way for each community. It’s the simplest way to rank communities to ensure the vaccine goes to places where it is needed most. From the first round of COVID-19 last spring, we know the disease disproportionately harms people in communities with higher SVIs.
Q: Should seniors stop trying to schedule a vaccine through their health system?
A: Seniors should keep trying to schedule a vaccine appointment with their health system. If they are also able to schedule one with a local community clinic, they should take the first appointment available to them and cancel other appointments.
Q: Why is the county planning smaller vaccine clinics instead of larger regional ones?
A: Ideally, we want to take the vaccine to where the seniors are. We know transportation and mobility are issues for some. Having smaller, local clinics will help seniors stay closer to home and make it easier to schedule an appointment. With that said, the county may schedule regional clinics where multiple communities can be served at the same time, so long as vaccine is available.
Q: I can’t get through on the number for my clinic; what should I do?
A: The City of Taylor has not been given a tentative schedule as of yet, so there is no reason to call right now. When it does, if you cannot get through right away, keep trying. Many seniors may also trying to call at the same time as you.