A new segment of the population, including people over 65 and frontline workers [including teachers and prison staff], will be next up to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as Michigan enters its next phase, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said during a press conference.
To help reach the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and bring a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services [MDHHS] officials today announced the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, Jan. 11.
MDHHS is moving forward with vaccination of Michiganders including those who are:
- Age 65 and older
- Frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers, and jail and prison staff
- Pre K-12 teachers and childcare providers.
As of today, 80% of deaths have occurred among those age 65 and older. Also, vaccinating Michiganders who are 75 and over in Phase 1B [Phase 1B, Group A], MDHHS is accelerating to vaccinate individuals 65-74 years old [Phase 1C Group A]. MDHHS is speeding up the implementation of vaccination of people 65-74 years due to concern around disparity in life expectancy by race/ethnicity for this group [Phase 1C, Group A)]
“The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” said Whitmer. “I urge all seniors to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and that all Michiganders to make a plan to get vaccinated when it becomes available to you. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eliminate this virus together.”
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said during the press conference that as of yesterday the state saw 504,410 cases of COVID-19 with over 12,867 deaths.
Key metrics tracking from the MDHHS includes following the case rate, hospital beds with COVID-19 patients in them, and the overall number of tests being done.
Khaldun said there are presently 237 cases per million, which range anywhere from 198 in Traverse City to 342 in the Jackson region.
“Cases have been plateauing in the past week after having a clear decline in the past 46 days,” she said adding that the state’s case rate was more than twice it was at the beginning of October.
COVID-19 hospitalized patients make up 12.6% of inpatient beds — down from 19.6% on December 4, which Khaldun called a “good thing.”
“However, the percent of test positive now is 9.6%; it was at 8.2% December 7,” Khaldun said, adding that over the holidays the number of tests being done went down. Overall I am concerned that we are seeing the slowing of the progress we were making over the holidays. We will continue to track these metrics everyone still needs to do your part.”
Visit michigan.gov/coronavirustest to find the nearest test site.
Residents over age 65 and seniors are urged to visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine to find local health departments and other local vaccine clinics near them that are ready to book appointments. Eligible essential workers, teachers, and childcare workers will be notified by their employers about vaccine clinic dates and locations.
MDHHS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a press release. CDC recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States.
Phases are as follows:
- Phase 1A: Paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare 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 in long term care facilities.
- Phase 1B: Persons 75 years of age or older and frontline essential workers in critical infrastructure.
- Phase 1C: Individuals 16 years of age or older at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection and some other essential workers whose position impacts life, safety, and protection during the COVID-19 response.
- Phase 2: Individuals 16 years of age or older.
These prioritizations may change as additional vaccination products become available.
More than 140,000 Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to health care workers with more than 8,000 of those doses going to nursing home residents and staff.
This data is being tracked on the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, which also includes information on the number of providers enrolled to provide the vaccine and vaccination coverage rates by age and race.
Also with COVID-19 vaccinations starting in Michigan and worldwide, Khaldun still urges people to continue wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the virus until the vast majority of people have been vaccinated.
There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. Michiganders should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects such as low-grade fever, sore arm, and general discomfort, according to the release.
Residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine. As additional information and resources become available, it will be posted to this site.
For more information go to Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.