We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the
Serving Frankenmuth Since 1906
Vol. 115 No. 27 - In our 115th year!
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
City's COVID-19 task force talks vaccine roll-out
Dear Frankenmuth Community,
Happy New Year! As we begin this new year, there is much anticipation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
At the onset of the pandemic, City Manager Bridget Smith organized a Community Emergency Task Force, which included representation from the City, churches, schools, medical providers, pastors, long-term care facilities, library, Chamber of Commerce, Frankenmuth Township, and emergency providers. This Task Force continues to meet. At our most recent meeting, participants raised questions about the vaccine roll-out, how to address concerns about the vaccine's safety, and the availability and location of COVID testing.
Nationwide, we are in the very early stages of distributing the vaccine. As of January 6, approximately 1% of the entire Nation's population has received the vaccination. In collaboration with the health departments across the whole State, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is responsible for directing the vaccine's distribution. In Frankenmuth, we fall under the umbrella of the Saginaw County Health Department (SCHD), which coordinates the entire distribution of vaccines in our area.
The SCHD will distribute the vaccine in a phased approach, as outlined by the CDC. Those most at risk qualify to receive the vaccination first. Currently, the SCHD is vaccinating individuals in the Phase 1A category. That includes health care workers providing direct care, people who will be vaccinating others, and residents in long-term care settings. According to the MDHHS, 10,800 doses of the vaccine have been distributed to Saginaw County as of January 8.
In Frankenmuth, Wellspring Lutheran Services has begun the process of vaccinating staff and residents. The SCHD is working with our school leaders to provide the vaccination for school personnel. Our Police and Fire department personnel serve as medical first responders, so they were eligible to receive their first dose right before Christmas, with the second dose due shortly.
On Friday, January 8, the Governor's Office announced that those 65 and older are now eligible for the vaccine. Unfortunately, the supply of vaccinations is limited. The SCHD has created a portal to all those 65 years and older to register to reserve a vaccine. Please use the following link to make your reservation: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GDC2BXL
For those who are unable to register on line please call the Saginaw County Commission on Aging at (989) 797-6880. Staff will take your name, address, cell phone, and email address and enter you into the health department’s system to reserve your dose. It is currently unclear how long it may take to distribute the vaccine to those who make a reservation. Please be patient.
The SCHD provides frequent updates on their webpage with information about when the vaccine will be available, who is eligible to receive the vaccine, how to make an appointment for the vaccine when you are eligible, and COVID 19 testing site locations. I encourage you to sign up to receive updates about the Health Department vaccine and testing. You can register at www.saginawpublichealth.org/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/. Scroll down the page and look for the text that says "registering your email address." If you don't have an email address, perhaps you can ask a neighbor or family member to register and keep you updated.
The safety of the vaccine was discussed in our Task Force meeting. You can find information about the vaccine's development on the Saginaw County Health Department website and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has published resources about the vaccine's safety at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines. I found the information on this site to be very helpful.
In the meantime, we likely have a few more months of exercising patience, and perhaps this might be a new community opportunity! During the past month, I have enjoyed walking downtown, through the River Place Shops, and plan to continue doing so. The lights are spectacular, the sidewalks shoveled, the window shopping is excellent, and it just feels good to get some fresh air.
The Wickson Memorial District Library is open. Since August, our library has remained available to patrons entering the building. The library has a fantastic assortment of media resources and staff eager to help.
The Frankenmuth Community Education Department is offering fun Themed Activities in a Box. Some options include learning how to bake, painting on canvass, building a family fitness plan, or creating old-fashioned valentines. More information about the Activity Boxes, including all instructions and materials, can be found at https://fmuthschools.revtrak.net/.
We can also look forward to Zehnders Snowfest Snow and Ice Exhibition the weekend of January 29-31. While this year's event will look different, we will still have an opportunity to enjoy spectacular snow sculptures and carvings. The Christmas tree at Zehnder's Park will remain lit through the Snowfest.
In closing, while we're anxious, I would ask you to please exercise patience. It may take months before a majority of our population is vaccinated. Thank you for continuing to practice social distancing and wearing face masks. Please pray for our Nation, our State, our City, and each other.
Be Safe and Go Eagles!
Mary Anne Ackerman
Mayor of Frankenmuth