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Whitmer calls for patience with COVID-19 vaccine rollout, explains numbers

The state is not holding onto 550,000 doses as some have inferred from the vaccine website
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AU Health starts 2nd doses of vaccines(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 2:39 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked Michigan residents for patience while state health officials receive, distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We will get everyone who wants a vaccine get vaccinated, but it’s going to take a little bit of patience,” Whitmer said.

She also explained a discrepancy on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website between the number of doses Michigan has received and the number of doses administered. The website showed Michigan received 725,000 doses by Thursday afternoon, but administered nearly 175,000 of those.

Whitmer said those numbers don’t mean the state is holding onto 550,000 doses of the vaccine.

“The state of Michigan has pushed out every single dose of the vaccine that we have received,” she said. “We’ve pushed it out to our eligible providers -- our local public health departments and our health systems.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services continues offering technical assistance for health care providers administering the vaccine. The Michigan National Guard also remains available to help transport and dispense the vaccine statewide.

“We are transporting. We are breaking down. We are working with local health departments and hospital systems,” she said. “And we’ve made incredible strides.”

Michigan receives about 60,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine every week and Whitmer said all of them are shipped out to health care providers around the state immediately. State health officials request providers dispense those doses within seven days of receipt.

Michigan’s entire allotment of the Moderna COVID-19 is shipped directly to CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, which are dispensing it at 207 locations around the state. Those doses primarily are being used at long-term care facilities as part of the state’s first phase of a four-part vaccination strategy.

As of Friday, only health care providers and long-term care facility staff or residents can receive the vaccine. On Monday, anyone age 65 and older or people working in critical occupations like first responders and teachers can begin receiving the vaccine.

Clinics in Michigan dispensed 24,000 doses of the vaccine in 24 hours from Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon, Whitmer said. The recent daily average of vaccine doses administered is about 20,000.

“This is a team effort, but we are getting these out and we are setting aggressive goals,” she said.

Whitmer said Michigan and other states are building up a COVID-19 vaccination strategy and operation alone. She asked the federal government to develop a national strategy and she hopes President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will be more helpful when he takes office on Jan. 20.

“We remaking great strides,” Whitmer said. “Michigan is in the same situation as every other state. We’re building this up and we’re all at about the same level.”

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