MidMichigan Health physician driving COVID-19 vaccines between hospitals in his car

Richard Bates, MD, the regional vice president of medical affairs at MidMichigan Medical Center in Alpena, has been transporting COVID-19 vaccines to his hospital from the health system's main hospital in Midland by driving them in his own car, The Washington Post reported. 

The hospital in Alpena is Michigan's most geographically isolated hospital, located 70 miles from the nearest interstate exit. 

Most of the initial batches of COVID-19 vaccines are being sent to hospitals in major cities across the U.S., leaving rural hospitals to wait. But MidMichigan received nearly three times the number of vaccine doses it was expecting, and has allowed Dr. Bates to drive doses from Midland to Alpena to begin vaccinating his hospital's employees, according to the Post

Katie Torok, who works in the Alpena hospital's clinical education department, told the Post she couldn't believe how quickly the hospital was able to get the vaccine, as she assumed it would be months before it reached them. 

Daniel Maxwell, DO, chair of the hospital's department of medicine, told the Post he pushed for his hospital to get the vaccine as fast as possible. 

"Sometimes when you live up here, you feel different," he said. "I want our community to know that we are part of all this."

Dr. Bates plans to pick up another batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Midland and take them to Alpena every five days, according to the Post

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