Covid vaccines coming to the Keweenaw


Photo of the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center, courtesy of their website

Tucker Nielsen, Lode Writer

Hope in the form of vaccines is on its way here. Since Covid-19’s unfortunate debut on the global stage, scientists have rushed to find an effective vaccine for preventing the spread. Earlier this year, Pfizer had released its two-shot vaccine after months of testing. This batch was distributed throughout the country, but its spread was limited amidst the shutdowns. Recently, Johnson & Johnson brought out their one-shot vaccine for the public to use. It’s more efficient at delivering and preventing the virus’s spread.

Nearby Marquette County will soon receive its first batch of vaccines, according to WMNU Radio. Earlier this month, Doctor Robert Lorinser of the Marquette County Health Department reported the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He reports the vaccine being 75 percent effective at preventing infection, but 100 percent effective for preventing deaths: “‘…100 after 28 days [of trial]. No hospitalizations in a trial of 40,000 people.’” (Walton, 2021). With around 82,000 reported doses heading to Michigan, places like Marquette and Houghton might receive some of these within the next few weeks.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department has reported successful vaccination for a spread-out population of elderly people and caregivers. Kate Beer, a Health Officer for the Health Department stated, “‘Providers across the district are seeing their waitlists shrink. We are hopeful that we will be able [to] follow the state plan and begin vaccinating people age 50 and over beginning March 22 and those age 16 to 49 by April 5.’” Availability is improving as health clinics across the Keweenaw hold vaccine clinics for their elderly patients and employees.

Melissa Vennix of UP Matters reported the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center held a vaccine clinic in Hancock yesterday. The clinic ran from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM, open primarily to people 50 years or older and by appointment only. While this clinic was limited to a specific population, it has begun the process of distributing up here.

Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine will hopefully allow the vaccine to reach all the way up here. While masks and social distancing are still required, eventually some normalcy could come when most are protected from Covid-19.