Today marked a milestone, a new chapter of hope, when the COVID-19 vaccine was delivered to MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. The vaccine was transported to the Medical Center in Alpena following a nearly three hour journey from Midland. The vaccines were 130 of 2,925 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were received at MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland by UPS truck earlier this morning. Just a few short hours later the vaccine was taken by car to Alpena.
Transporting the vaccine was former Alpena resident Richard Bates, M.D., regional vice president of medical affairs, MidMichigan Health. “It was an honor to drive the vaccine to my hometown. It is providing hope to a community that has seen enough of COVID-19.”
Alpena’s vaccination team of 10 awaited Dr. Bates arrival where they would next receive the vaccination in advance of the employee and provider vaccination clinics scheduled to start on Thursday, Dec. 17. The first to receive the vaccine was Thomas Thornton, M.D., general surgeon and vice president of medical affairs, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena.
“I was excited to receive the vaccine today. As a front line health care worker it is important for me to show our community this is safe,” said Dr. Thornton. “Up to this point with COVID-19, most everything has been reactive. This is the first time I can do something to make a difference and help put an end to the pandemic.”
Those receiving the vaccine on Thursday will include employees from the Emergency Departments, ICU, EMS, medical and COVID floors. Clinics will also begin Thursday at MidMichigan Medical Center’s in Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Midland, Mt. Pleasant and West Branch. In the coming weeks additional employee groups will be vaccinated based on the health system’s prioritization process.
“This has been an incredible day. Our biggest goal with the vaccine is to encourage as many people to receive the vaccine so that we can help to end this pandemic,” said Lydia Watson, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president, MidMichigan Health. “We believe in the vaccine and the science behind it. We encourage our communities to educate themselves about the vaccine and how it will help us to fight COVID-19. We recommend getting the vaccine when it is offered to you.”
Those interested in learning more about the COVID vaccine may visit www.midmichigan.org/CovidVaccine
MidMichigan Health, a non-profit health system headquartered in Midland, Michigan, is a leader in providing award-winning, high-quality care to the 23-county region it serves. With Medical Centers in Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Midland, Mt. Pleasant and West Branch, MidMichigan Health provides a full continuum of care across a wide array of settings, including urgent care centers, home health, virtual care, as well as medical offices in more than 30 specialties and subspecialties including cardiology, hematology/oncology, orthopedics, vascular surgery, family medicine and more. MidMichigan Health demonstrates its commitment to the future of medicine by partnering with leading institutions to offer medical education programs that train medical students, physicians, nurse practitioner and physician assistant students, nursing students and other clinical experts for our region. Its more than 8,800 employees, volunteers and health care providers work together to create healthy communities through solutions designed to meet the ever-changing needs of the 938,000 residents in the health system’s service area. In fiscal year 2020, MidMichigan Health provided more than $91 million in community benefits, as well as supported its patients and families with new equipment, services and programs with funds raised by the MidMichigan Health Foundation.