For obvious reasons, public health officials are glad that many residents are eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Although it will take time, the vaccine appears to be the best tool at our disposal to emerge from our almost year-long pandemic.

Anticipating the demand, those officials have urged the public to remain patient while they seek to administer the vaccine based on who needs it the most. Unfortunately, that message has been overlooked or misinformation has been circulated or a combination of the two has occurred and, as a result, our local health departments have struggled to manage the flood of phone calls and in-person visits from those seeking a shot.

Both Lapeer and St. Clair counties’ departments have had to issue several press releases in the last several days with urgent requests that people do not call or show up unexpectedly at their facilities. For a brief time last week, St. Clair County was registering adults 65 and older for a two-day clinic but the slots filled within a matter of hours. Lapeer County is still working to vaccinate public health workers and hasn’t begun to schedule any clinics as of yet. Vaccine supplies remain tight across the region and state.

The Tri-City Times and other media outlets have pledged to help our local health departments keep the public informed how and when they can be vaccinated when the time comes. If you or a loved one is eager to be vaccinated, the best—and probably hardest—thing to do is sit tight. Please give these public health officials the time and space they need to do their jobs. Just a few weeks ago, a surge of COVID-19 cases overwhelmed their ability to conduct timely contact tracing protocols and now they’re faced with an overload of a different kind but nonetheless, it’s taxing on staff and systems.

Due to the nature of things, most vaccination scheduling has been done online. This has likely posed a challenge to some older folks or those who don’t have reliable internet access. To that end, St. Clair County officials are asking that residents seek out help from family, friends or neighbors if accessibility is an issue for them, once appointments are being scheduled again.

As they say, “patience is a virtue” and it’s something we should practice for the sake of those trying to keep us safe and healthy.