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Officials turn to family doctors for help vaccinating more Michigan residents

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears in a video with other Midwest governors encouraging adults to get...
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears in a video with other Midwest governors encouraging adults to get a COVID-19 vaccine.(source: WJRT)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:32 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - As demand for COVID-19 vaccines wanes, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state health officials are turning to family doctors to help convince leery residents to get vaccinated.

Whitmer received her second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 13 days ago, so she will be considered fully vaccinated on Thursday. She said people who are hesitant to get the vaccine should turn to the physician they trust the most -- the family doctor.

“Vaccines are our best chance of putting this pandemic behind us, and returning to normal. They represent hope and healing,” Whitmer said. “If you want to learn more, I encourage you to talk to your family doctor and learn more about how the safe effective vaccines can save your life and the lives of those who love.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive, said all family practice physicians in Michigan can register with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as COVID-19 vaccine providers to serve their patients. She also asked doctors to talk with patients about the vaccine.

Health departments across Michigan are ready to work with doctor’s offices to provide doses of vaccine in small quantities.

“The most important thing we can do right now is to make vaccines available for whenever someone is ready,” she said. “We know that patients trust their doctors, and when they are ready to get vaccinated we want you to have vaccine on hand.”

Dr. Srikar Reddy, president-elect of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, said getting vaccinated is everyone’s civic duty. He believes family doctors will play a crucial role in convincing their patients who are hesitant to get the vaccine.

“Speaking on behalf of my family physician colleagues, we understand that we still need to build confidence in the COVID vaccines,” he said. “We want to assure Michiganders that all the approved COVID vaccines are safe and highly effective. If you have any questions about the vaccine, talk to your family physician who can provide you with science backed information.”

Neighborhood, mobile and homebound vaccination plans will continue for people who don’t have a primary care doctor.

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