What to Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opening Up to Ages 16+April 5, 2021
April 5, 2021
Anyone 16 years old or older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday in Michigan.
This comes at a time when Michigan is a hotbed for COVID-19 cases. The state health department reported 8,413 new COVID-19 cases and 57 deaths Saturday, which is the highest case total since Dec. 4, 2020.
In addition, surges like the one currently happening in Michigan are a “distinct possibility,” in other states because of the spread of the U.K. variant of the virus, relaxing of social distancing mandates, and increased mobility, according to a policy briefing from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Michigan residents interested and eligible can now choose where to receive their vaccines, whether through city or county vaccine sites, through their health provider, or at pharmacy chains.
Vaccine providers are still encouraged to prioritize residents based on highest risk, including older residents, essential workers, and frontline workers, according to a March 12 news release from the state.
Here’s what to know:
How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan: Local health systems
Some hospitals are registering patients by invitation only, while others are using online patient portals such as My Chart. Residents should check their local hospital’s website to see COVID-19 vaccine information and eligibility requirements.
Click on the links below to find COVID-19 vaccine information for southeastern Michigan hospitals and hospital systems.
The hospitals offering shots are:
Ascension Michigan: Ascension St. John Hospital, Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren and Madison Heights, Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi, Southfield, and Rochester, Ascension River District Hospital, Ascension Genesys Hospital.
Beaumont Health: With hospitals in Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Dearborn, Trenton, Grosse Pointe, Troy, Taylor, and Wayne.
Detroit Medical Center: Hospitals include Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper University Hospital, Sinai-Grace Hospital, the DMC Heart Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
Henry Ford Health System: With hospitals in Clinton Township, Detroit, Jackson, West Bloomfield, and Wyandotte.
McLaren Health Care: McLaren Bay Region, McLaren Bay Special Care, McLaren Caro Region, McLaren Central Michigan, McLaren Flint, McLaren Greater Lansing, McLaren Lapeer Region, McLaren Macomb, McLaren Northern Michigan, McLaren Oakland, McLaren Orthopedic Hospital, McLaren Port Huron, McLaren Thumb Region, McLaren St. Luke’s, and Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Sparrow Health System: Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Sparrow St. Lawrence Hospital, Sparrow Carson Hospital, Sparrow Ionia Hospital, Sparrow Eaton Hospital, Sparrow Clinton Hospital, and Sparrow Specialty Hospital.
St. Joseph Mercy Health System: St. Mary Mercy Hospital Livonia, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital.
Michigan Medicine: University of Michigan Medical Center, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
Veterans Affairs Hospitals: John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Click on the links below to find more info on each pharmacy’s vaccine requirements and appointment times.
Meijer: To get an appointment at Meijer, there are three options: Register online, by texting “COVID” to 75049, or by calling your local Meijer pharmacy. Meijer will have users fill out an eligibility form before accessing appointment times.
Rite Aid: People will have to fill out a vaccine eligibility form first. Once Rite Aid determines you’re eligible for a vaccine, the pharmacy’s website will list different locations and appointment times. Available appointment times at certain locations will change, so users are encouraged to continually check Rite Aid’s website if they want to receive a vaccination at a specific location.
Walgreens: To register to receive your vaccination at Walgreens, you first need to create a pharmacy account on the Walgreens.com site — unless you already have an account, in which case you can just log in. Once you’ve completed the screening and are deemed eligible, you will find a list of available appointments for your choosing.
Walmart: You will need a Walmart account to check for vaccine appointments. Once you have an account, you can check the map through this link to see whether any appointments are available near you: www.walmart.com/cp/flu-shots-immunizations/1228302.
Vaccine appointments based on counties
Click on the links below to find COVID-19 vaccine information for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.
Oakland: Residents are required to complete this form to receive a vaccine and will be contacted by the county once they are eligible and vaccines are available. To sign up for email updates, go to oaklandcountyvaccine.com or text OAKGOV COVID to 468311. If you are unable to complete the online form, call the hotline at 800-848-5533.
Washtenaw: For people in Washtenaw County, residents can use this link to check for available appointments: https://bit.ly/vaxwchd. If no appointments are available, residents will have to check back at a later time. The county will not add residents to a waiting list. New appointments will be added at 10 p.m. Fridays and on 9 a.m. Mondays.
Wayne: According to the county’s website, residents should schedule appointments through their hospital group or other vaccine providers, such as the Ford Field clinic.
If your Michigan county isn’t listed, contact your county health department by using this michigan.gov webpage.
Ford Field COVID-19 vaccine registration
To register, Michiganders have three options: Online at clinic.meijer.com/register/CL2021, texting “EndCOVID” to 75049, or calling the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing 1.
Once registered, residents will receive an invitation either by voice or text when it’s their turn to schedule the appointment, a few days in advance, according to the state health department.
Residents who don’t have access to the internet or need help navigating through the registration process can use the state health department hotline to register. Residents can call 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
TCF Center vaccine clinic
City residents 16 and older or anyone who works in Detroit at a job site are eligible for a shot. They can call 313-230-0505 to schedule their appointment. Those who are ages 16 and 17 must get the Pfizer vaccine as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are for those ages 18 and older.
What to expect after your vaccine
Common side effects after a vaccine shot include pain, swelling, and redness in the arm where the vaccine was given, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Headaches, tiredness, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea are other common side effects post-vaccine.
The CDC recommends people talk to their doctor about taking over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines when it comes to alleviating the vaccine’s side effects. However, it’s not recommended to take these medicines before vaccination to try and prevent side effects.
For two-dose vaccinations, such as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, side effects may be more intense after the second shot.
“These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days,” the CDC said on its website.
People are considered fully vaccinated after two weeks of receiving the vaccine’s full course. This means two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
What to do with your vaccination card
At your first vaccination appointment, you should receive a CDC vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.
You will need to bring your vaccination card with you to your second vaccination appointment if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, so your provider can fill in the information about your second dose.
The CDC recommends keeping your vaccination card in case you need it for future use, and to consider taking a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy.
To keep the vaccine cards safe and in good condition, some people decided to laminate their cards, but this may not be the best idea. The heat from the lamination process can make certain pen ink disappear, which could be an issue when it comes to your vaccine records.
If people lose, ruin or never received their vaccine cards, there are a few ways to fix this problem. Contact the vaccination provider who administered the first shot to find out how you can get a card.
If you cannot contact your vaccination provider directly, contact your state health department’s immunization information system. Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations.
Michigan’s system information can be found here. The CDC doesn’t have vaccination record information.
If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText after your first vaccine dose, you can access your vaccination information there.
Why you shouldn’t post a vaccine-card selfie
As more people become vaccinated, the photo of giddy people posing with their vaccine cards floods social media. However, consumer watchdogs are warning against this social media trend, saying it could help scammers learn information about you.
The vaccine card lists a person’s name, birthday, type of vaccine received, and when the vaccine was given.
Crooks could use the vaccine card information, perhaps along with other readily available information, to open a credit card or take out a loan, hack into your personal accounts or maybe even file a phony income tax return to trigger a generous refund.
“While it may not seem like a lot of information, all a sophisticated scammer needs is a little bit of information about you, they then do their own research to fill in the blanks,” Laura Blankenship, director of marketing for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan & the Upper Peninsula, previously told the Free Press.
Do I need to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination will be free to everyone interested in getting one in 2021, federal officials have said.
From the CDC’s website: “The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.”
COVID-19 vaccination providers can’t charge for the vaccine or for copays, fees, or coinsurance, the CDC states. Providers can’t charge people for an office visit if the only service provided was a COVID-19 vaccine.
What can I do after the vaccine?
The vaccine isn’t the golden ticket to normalcy. The CDC still recommends vaccinated people to protect themselves and others from the virus. People should continue to wear masks when out in public and avoid large crowds.
But there are a few things vaccinated people can start doing again. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people, without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
Fully vaccinated people can also visit an unvaccinated household without masks or social distancing, as long as people in the household don’t have an increased risk for contracting COVID-19, the CDC said.
Unless someone shows symptoms or recently traveled internationally, fully vaccinated people don’t have to stay away from others or get tested if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, the CDC said.
However, if fully vaccinated people live in a group setting like a correctional facility or group home, the CDC still recommends a quarantine for 14 days and getting tested, even if they don’t exhibit symptoms. The CDC said officials are still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
Can I travel?
It’s been a year into the pandemic, and some people are itching to take a nice vacation. However, the CDC warns against international travel, saying fully vaccinated people can still contract and spread new COVID-19 variants. But, the CDC gave vaccinated people the green light to travel domestically.
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can travel safely within the U.S. Fully vaccinated travelers don’t need to get COVID-19 tested before or after travel — unless their destination requires it. But, this doesn’t mean vaccinated people can forgo all CDC recommendations.
Domestic, vaccinated travelers are still encouraged to continue wearing masks and avoid large crowds when taking a trip.