Michigan advancing to second phase of COVID-19 vaccine plan
LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan is advancing to the second phase of the four-part COVID-19 vaccine plan.
All counties statewide will begin allowing the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to residents who are 65 and older, along with more frontline workers beginning Monday. Frontline workers include first responders, jail staff, teachers and childcare providers.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services started offering the vaccine to health care workers and residents or staff in long-term care facilities before Christmas as part of Phase 1A. The state is moving to Phase 1B and expanding it to include residents age 65 and older.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pointed out that 80% of Michigan’s nearly 13,000 COVID-19 deaths involve senior citizens age 65 and older. State health officials hope to vaccine 5.4 million people age 16 or older by next fall.
“The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” she said. “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, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive, said the state is in the top five for percentage of residents who received the vaccine already. Residents age 65 or older who want the COVID-19 vaccine can visit the state’s website for information on health department and other clinics.
Employers will provide information about vaccine clinics and dates for frontline workers who are eligible for the vaccine.
“We are pleased to move the state forward in the next stage of vaccinations,” Khaldun said. “These vaccines are safe and effective, and we especially want our first responders, teachers and older adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Michigan and other states are struggling with small supplies of COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone hoping to get vaccinated should make sure to set an appointment before coming to a clinic.
Michigan already has distributed 520,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and administered more than 140,000 doses by Wednesday. More than 8,000 doses have been administered to nursing home residents and staff with more of the rest going to direct health care workers.
All COVID-19 vaccines will be free with no out-of-pocket expense for residents. Health care providers may bill insurance for administrative costs, however.
The COVID-19 vaccines available now both require two doses -- three weeks apart for Pfizer and four weeks apart for Moderna. People who receive the vaccine have reported mild side effects like low-grade fevers, a sore arm at the injection site and general fatigue.
Khaldun said those side effects are normal and show that the vaccine is working.
Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.