Vaccine shortage delays Henry Ford, Wayne County COVID-19 vaccinations

Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System and the Wayne County Public Health Department are delaying some COVID-19 vaccinations due to a shortage of vaccine.

Both the hospital system and the county said they received fewer doses of vaccine this week than expected. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services didn’t immediately respond to an email asking why the doses didn’t arrive. 

Combined with 62,400 doses of Pfizer's vaccine the state already had expected to receive, Michigan would have had 122,400 doses to provide to hospitals and health departments.

State health officials expected Michigan to get nearly double the doses that had been expected for this week after the federal government informed health officials last week that it would release an additional 60,000 doses of Moderna vaccine to the state. Those doses had been held in reserve for CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.  

Combined with 62,400 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine the state already had expected to receive, Michigan would have had 122,400 doses to provide to hospitals and health departments.

Also last week, the federal government informed states it would release a stockpile of vaccine that was held in reserve to provide second doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. But federal officials later said that the stockpile was exhausted and states shouldn’t expect a windfall, the Washington Post was first to report. 

“MDHHS staff have not been provided allocation numbers for additional doses of vaccine that could be used for first doses,” state health department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said when asked how many doses Michigan expected to get from the stockpile. 

Wayne County now expects to receive 5,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday.

The five-hospital Henry Ford system received less than 40% of the doses it expected to receive this week from the federal government, according to a press release. 

“Today, we received 12,675 doses of Pfizer vaccine. This allotment represents 37% of what we had expected to receive,” Henry Ford said in the late Monday press release.

Due to the shortage, the health system is prioritizing vaccinations for existing Henry Ford patients who are ages 65 and older, patients who have certain high-risk conditions or meet the broader eligibility requirements by MDHHS, Henry Ford said in the release. 

Combined with doses already on hand, Monday’s shipment will allow Henry Ford to schedule up to 1,400 appointments per day through at least the end of this week, the health system said. 

“We are contacting Henry Ford patients who meet the eligibility requirements proactively through MyChart, text messaging and phone calls,” the press release said. 

Wayne County officials announced on Sunday that appointments for first-dose vaccinations planned for Tuesday and Wednesday would be rescheduled because its allotment of the Pfizer vaccine was depleted. 

According to a press release issued on Monday, the state informed the county Friday that it would no longer receive Pfizer vaccine intended for first doses.

People with appointments for first doses that were previously scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday will be notified individually of their new appointment time, county officials said. 

“We know people are frustrated with the vaccine supply shortages from the state,” Wayne County Chief Health Strategist Dr. Mouhanad Hammami said in Monday’s release. “Our team is prepared to vaccinate more residents and better protect our communities as soon as we get more vaccine.”

Wayne County now expects to receive 5,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday, according to the release. 

The move to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will impact only Phase 1A and 1B recipients who have not received their first dose of the vaccine, according to health officials. 

People awaiting a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will still be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the Health Administration Building in Wayne, where they received their first dose.

Rescheduled vaccinations will take place at Wayne County’s new vaccination site located at Schoolcraft College’s Vista Tech Center at 18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia. Wayne County vaccinations for people in Phase 1A and essential frontline workers in Phase 1B will resume on Thursday.

Twitter: @kbouffardDN