tcr-021121-more-vaccine (copy)

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for children 16 years old and older, with a current request for use in kids ages 12-15. 

TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Health Department’s concert ticketing-style online scheduling software coordinating COVID-19 vaccinations will be phased out in March.

County officials announced in a press release an initiative to change the health department’s public scheduling process for vaccines during the next several weeks. The new scheduling software will only allow those who are eligible under the state’s criteria to schedule an appointment when COVID-19 vaccines become available — a landmark step forward from the county’s public scheduling link many have said was both difficult to use and unfair to those eligible.

“Currently, the new screening will allow eligible groups to schedule a vaccine appointment while filtering out those who are not eligible,” the press release read. “We are working toward a process that will eventually allow residents to fill out the screening once and then automatically be placed into a queue to receive the vaccine based on their eligibility group.”

Emmy Schumacher, Public Information Officer with the GTC Health Department, said the new system worked well when health department tried it last week with those only aged 65 and older.

“The implementation is going to be a phased approach and will develop over the coming weeks,” Schumacher said in a text message.

In an email, Jordan VanLoo, Marketing and Communications Specialist with the County’s Administration, said the changes will place the health department in the best position to “adapt to future changes in state guidelines and achieve their vaccination goals throughout the rest of the pandemic.”

The new system will go live Monday at 1:00 p.m. at gtcountycovid19.com/vaccine.

Those attempting to schedule an appointment will be asked to answer a series of screening questions to determine their eligibility before being granted access to the scheduling link. The health department then reserves the right to screen individuals who are successful in scheduling a shot.

“Any appointments made for individuals who are not currently eligible will be canceled prior to the appointment or turned away at the clinic,” the press release read.

This is a developing story. Visit Recod-Eagle.com for updates.

Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR

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