How It Works
Wayne County Public Health Department has begun simultaneously vaccinating seniors age 65 and older in the most expedient way to get vaccines in arms of seniors as fast as possible. This process will take time. Everyone who wants a vaccine will get one. As more doses and capacity become available, this process will go faster.
This program is supplemental to current efforts to schedule senior vaccines with local health systems. The County is also exploring additional vaccination centers to increase access to seniors wanting a vaccine.
To ensure broader distribution of the vaccine, Wayne County was divided into geographic regions. Communities were placed in one of the regions based on location. The regions were further balanced based on total senior population (65+).
Next, each community in each region was ranked based on its Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), 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 handle the scheduling of the vaccine appointments.
This is the same process the county followed for prioritizing vaccination for school districts, with the school districts scheduling the appointments.
Q: When will my community be scheduled?
A: The chart on page 4 outlines the prioritization and SVI for each community in each region. This is the order the county is following. The timing of when a clinic will be scheduled 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: Keep trying. Many seniors are also trying to call at the same time as you. Try calling at a different time. Please be patient.
Wayne County Public Health Senior Vaccination Program (PDF)