1 Vaccine signup

Staff at North Ottawa Community Hospital received COVID-19 vaccines when it first became available to them on Dec. 18, 2020.

An online notification system is now up and running for people interested in getting their COVID-19 vaccine at North Ottawa Community Hospital.

Go to the hospital’s website, noch.org, and click on the link on the home page that says, “I want the vaccine.”

Hospital spokesperson Jennifer VanSkiver said this is an opportunity for people to get in the queue and be ready to sign up for an appointment once NOCH receives its first shipment of vaccines that it can start administering to the general public.

Appointments were not being made as of Friday morning.

The first two shipments of vaccines were used to vaccinate hospital staff, volunteers and other health care workers in the community not associated with NOCH.

Now that the state has opened up the vaccination process to people age 65 and older, the hospital expects an onslaught of demand.

“There are 32,000 people over age 65 in Ottawa County,” VanSkiver said. “We are asking for the community’s patience.”

VanSkiver said that when people go to the registration page, they will be asked questions about eligibility. They will also be asked for contact information including phone number and email address.

Once appointments can be made, people who registered will be notified by text or email that the process is open.

VanSkiver said there’s far more demand for the vaccine than there is supply and that she expects it will take a couple of months for everything to “smooth out.”

The hospital spokesperson said that they also realize that people are signing up in multiple places for an opportunity to get the vaccine. She emphasized that it is important to cancel an appointment at one location if you are able to get an earlier appointment at another. Otherwise, “it slows down the whole process,” she said.

Area residents can also go to vaccinatewestmi.com/register and click on the link to their county health department or local hospital to register for notifications to make an appointment, once vaccines are available. Notifications will include links to the page where you can sign up for an appointment.

The Vaccinate West Michigan Page notes that people should understand that it could be weeks before they can get an appointment.

You may contact Becky Vargo at bvargo@grandhaventribune.com.

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