Starting March 8th, Houghton Lake Rite Aid Will Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines

Keara Lou

Photo by Foursquare, Houghton Lake Rite Aid

March 8th is a big day for the State of Michigan. Governor Whitmer and the Department of Health and Human Services announced that vaccine elgibility would expand to anyone over fifty with health problems and disabilities. It also extends to caregivers and family members of children with special health needs. All Michiganders 50 and older become elgible for the COVID vaccine on March 22nd.

March 8th is also a big day for the Houghton Lake Rite Aid. Starting Monday, the store will begin distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.

This store won't be receiving the Pfizer vaccine

Participating Rite Aids across the nation typically receive about 200 doses of the Pfizer vaccine a day. Someone looking to get a vaccine can register online or call Rite Aid to get their vaccines. The Gladwin Rite Aid has a five-page waiting list, but Mt. Pleasant struggles to get people inside for a vaccine.

Houghton Lake Rite Aid, however, won't be receiving the Pfizer vaccine when they start distributing the vaccine. Instead, they'll be receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine!

What's the difference between Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson?

The Pfizer vaccine is one of the first vaccines to get distributed across the nation. It's one of the most effective against the COVID-19 virus. Patients as young as sixteen can get the virus as it becomes more available to the public.

According to Stat, the Pfizer vaccine uses messenger RNA proteins to teach your body's immune system how to fight the virus. You need to have two doses for the vaccine to work; patients need to wait three weeks before getting the second dose.

Johnson and Johnson use a different approach to build up your immune system. Instead of using messenger RNA, J&J engineered an adenovirus to carry the SARS-2 protein. This protein creates a response in your body and helps teach it to fight against COVID-19.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, J&J only requires one dose of its vaccine. Patients as young as eighteen can take it once it becomes available to the public. As of now, there is no vaccine available for children.

Who's going to be elgible for the vaccine?

On Monday, the eligibility list will expand. If you fall under any of these categories, you can schedule an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Anyone aged 65 and older.
  • Teachers
  • Law enforcement
  • Agricultural workers
  • Childcare workers
  • Health care workers
  • Anyone working in long-term care facilities
  • People ages 50 and older who have health problems or disabilities (starting March 8th)
  • Guardians and family members of children who have special health needs (starting March 8th)

The J&J approval is helping to speed eligibility expansion across the state. Nationwide, we're looking to have 300 million doses by the end of May.

Here is how to set up an appointment with Rite Aid to get your vaccine

All you need to do is go on the Rite Aid website and schedule an appointment. If you don't have internet access, you can head to your local library to set up an appointment online. If you don't want to do it online, you can call Rite Aid to schedule an appointment. The state provides a COVID-19 hotline for people who don't have access to the internet to schedule an appointment, too.

Keep in mind; all participating Rite Aid stores have 200 doses of the vaccine per day. Houghton Lake Rite Aid is also one of the few that provides J&J vaccines. You need to find another location to get the Pfizer vaccine. If vaccines aren't available, you can get put on a waiting list.

No matter where you go to get your COVID-19 vaccine, you won't get a choice on which brand you get. Vaccine supplies are limited, so what you get is what you get.

The faster we get vaccinated, the sooner we reach herd immunity

As of March 5, The Lansing State Journal reports that 9.2% of all Michiganders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Another 16.2% received their first dose of the vaccines. The State of Michigan's goal is to get 70% of its population vaccinated.

The faster we reach that goal, the less we'll need to wear masks. No one wants the pandemic to last forever, no matter how introverted some people claim to be. As the vaccine gets more available, we inch closer to the day we won't need masks anymore.

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I'm a Forever Middle-Child who doesn't have the ability to sit still. I often write about travel, relationships, life, books, food, humor, and life as a fat woman. Women's issues are a passion of mine too. I often write a lot of opinion pieces about what's going on in the world with a little touch of politics. I'll write about anything that comes to mind.

Beaverton, MI
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