Health Department

Joel Strasz - Public Health Director
Kathy Janer - Public Health Nursing Manager
Melissa Maillette - Emergency Preparedness & Health Education Manager
Amy Revette - WIC Manager
Mark Pickell - Business Services Manager
Joel Kwiatkowski - Environmental Health Manager
Dr. Thomas Bender - Medical Director
Dr. William Morrone - Medical Examiner
Bay County Health Department
1200 Washington Avenue
Bay City, Michigan 48708
Voice: (989) 895-4009
Fax: (989) 895-4014
Health Information Line: (989) 895-4192

COVID-19 Vaccine 

Vaccine Video
 Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs)

After rigorous testing and FDA approval process, a COVID-19 vaccine is now approved and available in limited supplies in Michigan and throughout the U.S.

The vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus. Due to limited supplies, those most at risk will qualify to be vaccinated first. Others will follow in a phased approach.

Thank you for your patience as we wait for widespread availability of the vaccine – and remember, it’s important for all of us to: social distance, wear masks, wash hands, and follow other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.



Bay County Health Department is following Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for prioritization of distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to individuals. These recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. 

The defined populations for different vaccination phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories, mortuary services and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all individuals 16 years and older.

The supply of vaccines will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow until everyone is able to receive a vaccine.

Safety & Effectiveness

Each COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer vaccine approved by the FDA on December 12, 2020 & Moderna vaccine approved by the FDA on December 14) moved through a three-phase development process, including human clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. Upon the completion of the clinical trials, the drug sponsors applied to the FDA to market and distribute the vaccine.

Prior to issuing guidance on each vaccine, the data and evidence was reviewed by an external panel of independent experts who provided a recommendation to the FDA to authorize the vaccine. The FDA ultimately determined that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, product quality, and consistency had been clearly demonstrated, so the vaccines were approved. While the three-phase clinical trial process has historically taken an average of three years or more, the FDA allowed for the acceleration of the development timeline and permitted some trials to overlap rather than run sequentially.

But federal oversight does not end once the vaccines are approved. Local healthcare workers will be among the first to get the vaccine and they will be using an after-vaccine health checker to provide additional data to a national database. Anyone who gets the vaccine may also use the vaccine reporting system – VAERS – to report undocumented side effects. This system is already used with other vaccines and immediately alerts health authorities to any possible issues.

The vaccines were found to be over 94% effective in adults, and only 2-10% of clinical trial participants experienced mild to moderate side effects attributable to a normal, healthy immune response.

Additional Resources