Aspirus administers first community COVID-19 vaccines in U.P.

Kathy Hendrickson

Individuals in Phase 1B may now schedule vaccinations in U.P.

UPPER PENINSULA, MI – Aspirus Health today began vaccinating the first community members against COVID-19. Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that the state was expanding COVID vaccine eligibility from Phase 1A to Phase 1B.

Phase 1B includes individuals age 65 and older, as well as “frontline essential workers” – though MDHHS is asking that frontline essential workers be vaccinated through their county health department.

Aspirus is now accepting COVID vaccine appointments for individuals in the U.P. age 65 and older. “We are excited to offer the vaccine more broadly in our communities,” said Jessica Bessner, PharmD, director of regional pharmacy for Aspirus.

Kathy Hendrickson, a Laurium resident, scheduled her COVID vaccine at Aspirus Laurium Clinic and received her first shot this morning. “I am excited to finally receive the vaccine,” she said, adding, “This is one step closer to ending this pandemic.”

Patients in the U.P. should contact their Aspirus primary care provider’s office to schedule an appointment. Appointments must be made as no walk-ins are currently being accepted. Vaccines will be scheduled and administered similarly to flu shots, though the COVID-19 vaccine does require two doses, administered a specified number of days apart. Patients will be observed for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine and have their second dose scheduled during their visit.

Individuals in Wisconsin cannot yet schedule their COVID vaccine, as states are progressing through eligibility phases differently. Wisconsin remains in phase 1A, which focuses on vaccination of health care workers and long-term care residents.

Aspirus began vaccinating their employees and other health care workers in U.P. communities on December 17.

Photo Caption: Kathy Hendrickson, Laurium resident, received her first COVID-19 vaccine on January 11.