Vaccine Beat: Genesee County is 24% fully vaccinated; MTA providing free transport to vaccination sites

By Tom Travis

The alarming number of new coronavirus cases and deaths throughout Michigan has brought renewed urgency for a vaccine. Three major vaccines have been distributed in the area and throughout the country since mid-December 2020: Moderna and Pfizer both requiring two injections to be fully vaccinated and the Johnson & Johnson, a single injection vaccination.

Last week the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “paused” administering their vaccine due to six incidents of blood clotting out of 6.8 million doses administered. According to the New York Times one person has died.

 In a statement concerning the Johnson & Johnson “pause” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said, “As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.”

Genesee County Health Department officials have made it clear that if you have a Johnson & Johnson vaccince appointment they are asking you not to cancel that appointment. When you show up for the appointment you will be given either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccince.

Photo source: Genesee County Health Department website

One of the reliable sources of vaccine information for Flint residents is the Genesee County Health Department coronavirus website. Here residents can view daily statistics concerning the coronavirus, vaccines and other important health related issues.

How to get to a vaccine site?

Mass Transit Authority (MTA) Rides-to-Wellness representatives announced they are providing free rides to vaccine sites. The MTA provided these instructions for obtaining a ride:

MTA’s Rides to Wellness has partnered with the Genesee County Health Department to provide free rides to vaccination appointments. Residents should follow the Health Department’s procedure for
signing up to get a vaccine appointment.

Photo source: MTA Flint website

When the Health Department calls residents with their appointment time, they should let the Health Department staff know they need transportation to their appointment. The Health Department will schedule their ride at that time and confirm the pick-up time with the resident. This service is free.”

According to a 2016 Detroit Free Press article, “18% of the households in Flint — the second highest percentage among the state’s largest urban centers — don’t have access to a vehicle.” 

MDHHS recipients and veterans and their spouses ride free too

“If you have an open case with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and you are living in the city of Flint, you may qualify for Rides to Wellness transportation services. Rides to Wellness will pick you up from your home and take you to local health and wellness related locations such as medical appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies and even the Farmer’s Market!

“We have recently added verified Immunization Clinics to the list of authorized locations. Registered passengers can use one of their monthly trips to be transported to any verified Immunization Clinic within Genesee County.

“If you have never used Rides to Wellness, call Rides to Wellness to speak to a coordinator at 810-780-8946 and get registered today! Make sure you have your MDHHS case number handy. It can be found in the upper right corner on any mailing you may have received from your case worker.

“Military Veterans should contact the Genesee County Department of Veteran Services at 810-257-3068 to become eligible for Rides to Wellness transportation. You will need a copy of the veteran’s DD-214, a copy of your driver license or Michigan ID, and a copy of your marriage license if you will also be registering your spouse, or if you are the veteran’s surviving spouse.

Photo source: MTA website

“If you are already registered as a Veteran or Veteran’s spouse, you can use of your monthly trips to be transported to any verified Immunization Clinic within Genesee County.

Additional resources for a free ride to vaccine sites

“Rides to Wellness has also partnered with Genesee Community Health Center to provide free trips to vaccine appointments for patients of the Center. If you are scheduled to get a vaccine through the GCHC, please let them know if you need transportation. The Health Center staff will schedule your free ride.

“Rides to Wellness has also partnered with Hamilton Community Health Network to provide free trips to vaccine appointments for patients of Hamilton. If you are scheduled to get a vaccine, please let them know if you need transportation. Hamilton CHN staff will schedule your free ride.

Photo source: HCHN website

The State of Michigan Health Department also provides a website for Michiganders to find a vaccine site close to them.

Continue to check back to this article as it will be updated accordingly as new and updated information becomes available.

EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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