Keeping You Up to Date On Vaccine-Related Issues
Kent County - Vaccine by the Numbers

To date, seventy percent of Kent County adults have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is a significant achievement and we thank everyone who has received the vaccine. However, this milestone should be seen as the floor, rather than a ceiling, especially as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread throughout our community. For the latest information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Kent County, view page seven (7) of our data dashboard.
Booster Shots

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is taking appointments for booster shots at all three of its clinic locations. Clinic locations and hours can be found here. Appointments can also be made by calling (616) 632-7200.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends a booster shot of all three COVID-19 vaccines available in certain populations and for those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings. For individuals who received an mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) COVID-19 primary vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series:

  • People 65 years and older,
  • Residents in long-term care settings aged 18 years or older, or
  • People aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions.
People over age 18 who received a single dose of the J&J (Janssen) vaccine should receive a single J&J COVID-19 booster dose at least two months after completing their primary series.

  • The use of a single booster dose of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least two months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.

Additionally, the CDC recommends the following groups may receive a booster based on their individual benefits and risks:

  1. People aged 18-49 years of age with underlying medical conditions, or
  • People aged 18-64 years of age who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional (residential) setting.

These groups include adults aged 18-64 years of age who work or reside in settings such as health care, schools, congregant care facilities, correctional facilities, or homeless shelters. Additionally, it includes front-line essential workers such as first responders (firefighters, police, and EMS), food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.
Mobile Vaccine Locations

The KCHD provides easy access to FREE COVID-19 vaccines with our mobile health clinic! If you need a COVID-19 vaccine, find our mobile unit at the following locations:

Western Michigan Hispanic Center
  • 1204 Grandville Ave SW | Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Wednesdays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Great Giant Supermarket
  • 1226 Madison Ave SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49507
  • Thursdays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

You can also schedule a vaccine at one of the KCHD's clinics or find more COVID-19 vaccine clinics here.
Mix and Match for COVID-19 Boosters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC approved medical providers to boost individuals with a different vaccine from what they initially received. Specifically, the FDA’s action amends the emergency use authorization for the use of a single booster as follows:

  • Use of a single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that may be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series to individuals:
  • 65 years of age and older,
  • 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19, or
  • 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to the coronavirus.
  • Use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series to individuals 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to coronavirus.
  • Use of a single booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least two months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.
  • Use of each of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a “mix and match” (heterologous) booster dose for eligible individuals following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine.

Starting on Oct. 27, booster shots will be available at all of the KCHD clinics.
Need a COVID-19 Test?

Have you been exposed to COVID-19, experiencing symptoms, or have upcoming travel plans? There are several COVID-19 testing locations available in Kent County, find available locations here or use the testing site locator for a site nearest to you.
Respiratory Illnesses in Children on the Rise

Ten children’s hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, issued a plea to the public asking people to do their part to curb the spread of respiratory illnesses to protect children.

The plea, published by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, asks people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible, get up to date on all other vaccinations, wear a mask, and encourage children to do the same. The letter also asks people to adhere to “proven safe health practices of social distancing and handwashing.”

The authors of the letter say that 300 children under the age of 10 are being diagnosed with COVID-19 in Michigan daily. The steady rise in COVID cases comes amid “extremely high rates” of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). While RSV is a common virus that usually causes cold-like symptoms, it can become dangerous for infants and some young children. For more on RSV, click here. The group warns that the number of patients is outweighing hospitals resources and is straining the healthcare workforce at unprecedented levels. You can read the entire letter here.
Pfizer Vaccine and Children

The White House recently announced its plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11 if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group is authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC. On Tuesday, the FDA Advisory Committee granted emergency approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children 5 to 11. The application is now headed to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for final review and approval.

The Biden Administration has bought enough doses for all 28 million children in that age group and will provide it in smaller packages with essential supplies like smaller needles to make it easier to get to physicians, pediatricians, and community health centers. The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services pre-ordered approximately 287,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be ready for the eventual federal approvals. Watch for more details on when the vaccine receives final approval for young children and when it will be available in our community.
How to Prevent the Flu

National and local public health officials are urging you to start making plans to get your flu shot as they anticipate a significant rise in flu cases compared to last year. The number of flu cases diagnosed dropped dramatically in 2020, largely because of COVID-19 control measures. Since many of those restrictions have been lifted, there is growing concern that there will be a rise in flu cases this year. Since the flu vaccine takes a couple of weeks to build flu immunity, it is important to get vaccinated before the spread of influenza is present in the community.

Appointments for flu vaccines can be made at any of KCHD’s clinic locations or by calling (616) 632-7200. More information about the flu can be found here.
Newsletter en español

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Kent County Health Department
700 Fuller Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Tel: (616) 632-7100
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