Dr. Gayle Ruggiero receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Continuing the Fight

Dr. Gayle Ruggiero, WMU medical director, receives her COVID-19 vaccine from Kalamazoo County health officials.

WMU Support for COVID-19 Vaccine Phasing

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has determined the process for immunizing Michigan's population against COVID-19. Individuals are being vaccinated according to the state’s stipulated phases—1A, 1B, 1C and phase 2—a process managed by health professionals in communities across Michigan. 

Locally, Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services (KCHCS) and local health systems are overseeing vaccination. WMU's Sindecuse Health Center is working in partnership with KCHCS to collect the names of  students, faculty and staff based on their eligibility phase. Sindecuse is not administering vaccinations, but using a COVID-19 Vaccine Phasing Assessment completed by current students, faculty, staff and retirees on WMU's health plan, the health center's role is to confidentially provide KCHCS with the contact information of eligible campus community members who qualify for each phase. If additional points of service are identified, names of individuals may also be confidentially shared with those clinical providers as vaccine availability allows.

If you are a current student, faculty, staff member or retiree participating in WMU health insurance, you are encouraged to complete the assessment. This step must be completed before an individual’s name can be advanced to the health department. Click on the button below to complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Phasing Assessment in the Sindecuse Health Center Patient Portal.

Phases (set by state health officials)

  • Phase 1A: Critical health care infrastructure

    At first, vaccine distribution will be limited and prioritized to paid and unpaid (volunteer) persons working in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents and workers in long term care facilities.

    Priority One

    Keep critical health care infrastructure open and functioning (e.g., hospitals, critical care units and emergency medical response systems) through vaccination of staff who perform direct patient care and work in critical areas including:

    • Group A: Emergency medical service providers, including medical first responders
    • Group B: General medical floor
    • Group C: Emergency department
    • Group D: Intensive care units


    Priority Two

    Prevent outbreaks and protect residents in long-term care facilities.

    • Group A: Workers who have direct contact with a large number of vulnerable residents. Note: this would include staff who come in and out of the buildings.
      • Skilled nursing facility staff
      • Psychiatric hospital staff
      • Homes for aged staff
      • Adult foster care centers staff
      • Assisted living facility staff
      • Home health care workers caring for high risk clients with large patient loads (e.g., people with a tracheostomy/ventilator at home)
    • Group B: Vulnerable residents in long-term care facilities.
      • Skilled nursing facility residents
      • Psychiatric hospital patients
      • Homes for aged residents
      • Adult foster care centers residents
      • Assisted living facility residents


    Priority Three

    Keep necessary health care infrastructure functioning.

    • Group A: Workers with direct patient contact who conduct high-risk procedures (e.g., dentists, endoscopy, dialysis)
    • Group B: Vaccinate other workers who have direct patient contact, including outpatient, urgent care, ambulatory care and home health care
    • Group C: Vaccinate workers who have indirect patient contact with specialized skills critical to health care system functioning (e.g., hospital and public health laboratories, pharmacy)
  • Phase 1B: Front line workers and individuals 65 years of age and older

    Once Phase 1A groups are vaccinated, the State plan will prioritize front line workers who keep critical infrastructure open and functioning. This includes:

    • Front line workers: first responders (firefighters, police), manufacturing, corrections workers, grocery store workers
    • Individuals 65 years of age and older
    • K-12 school and child care staff with direct contact with children
    • Some workers in 16 sectors of Critical Infrastructure Protection Program (including chemical, communications, dams, emergency services, financial services, government facilities, information technology, transportation systems, energy, food and agriculture, health care and public health, nuclear reactors, materials and waste, and water and wastewater systems)
    • Staff in homeless shelters, corrections facilities (prisons, jails, juvenile justice facilities), congregate child care institutions, and adult and child protective services
    • Workers with unique skill sets not covered above (such as non-hospital laboratories and mortuary services)
  • Phase 1C: Populations at high risk

    The next group to receive vaccines will be populations at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection.

    • Group A: Individuals age 65 to 74 years
    • Group B: Individuals 16 to 64 years with COPD, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, obesity or other conditions that put them at high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome
    • Other workers: Food service, shelter and housing (construction), media, legal, public safety (engineers)
  • Phase 2: All individuals 16 years or older

    In 2021, the vaccine supply is expected to increase substantially. Current models suggest all individuals 16 years or older who do not fall within the initial priority groups should qualify for the vaccine by mid-2021.

    The vaccines themselves are free to all. A small charge may be assessed to health insurance providers by the agency administering the vaccine, but there will not be any out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine.

    More information will be available soon on how and where vaccines are being administered.