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Republican lawmakers: Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine rate higher than what is reported

Eight lawmakers from border counties want to include out-of-state vaccinations in Michigan’s numbers
This details the vaccination rates Michigan needs to hit for COVID-19 restrictions to end.
This details the vaccination rates Michigan needs to hit for COVID-19 restrictions to end.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - A group of Republican lawmakers believes Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is higher than what state health officials are reporting.

Republicans say the state can move forward on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Vacc to Normal plan if the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services includes people vaccinated out of state in Michigan’s statistics.

“After a year of enduring strict lockdown measures, we should be doing everything we can to return to normal, yet your new metrics seemingly exclude individuals who have been immunized in other states from being counted toward reopening goals,” says a letter to Whitmer from eight Republicans who primarily represent areas along Michigan’s state lines.

The Republicans were pleased to see Whitmer base the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on measurable data, but they disagree with excluding statistics of people vaccinated elsewhere.

“But, as we now know, Michigan had one of the worst vaccine rollouts across the nation, which spurred many people to cross state borders into Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin to receive the vaccine,” the letter says. “The low vaccination rates associated with these border counties do not accurately reflect reality.”

The lawmakers believe that Michigan can drop more COVID-19 restrictions faster if the out-of-state vaccinations are included in the state’s numbers.

“This will allow us to reopen our state even more quickly and safely so we can once again support our favorite small businesses, visit elderly family members, and make in-person learning a priority for our children,” the letter says.

State Reps. Joe Bellino of Monroe County, TC Clements of Temperance, Bronna Kahle of Adrian, Andrew Fink of Hillsdale, Sarah Lightner of Jackson County, Pauline Wendzel of Berrien County, Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain and Greg Markkanen of Hancock all signed the letter.

The MI Vacc to Normal plan announced last week allows Michigan’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions to loosen as the vaccination rate increases among the adult population age 16 and older.

Two weeks after 55% receive at least one dose of vaccine, all offices across the state can resume in-person work for everyone.

Two weeks after 60% receive at least one dose of vaccine, capacity restrictions will be reduced:

  • Sports stadiums can allow 25% spectator capacity.
  • Conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes can allow 25% capacity indoors.
  • Exercise facilities can allow 50% capacity indoors.
  • The 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants to close will end.

Two weeks after 65% receive at least one dose of vaccine, all indoor capacity limits will end.

  • Only social distancing will be required between people indoors.
  • Limits on residential social gatherings will be relaxed.

Two weeks after 70% receive at least one dose of vaccine, all broad mandates and restrictions for COVID-19 in Michigan will be lifted, including the face mask mandate and gathering limits.

After that, Whitmer said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will only impose broad COVID-19 restrictions if an unanticipated circumstance arises, such as rapid spread of vaccine resistant coronavirus variants.

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