Vaccination for COVID-19 is our newest and best strategy that leads us to control this unique disease and protect Michigan residents. Recent numbers demonstrate that Michigan is leading the way in providing expanded access to all three vaccines. Some important numbers to remember include:
- Michigan has distributed 3,410,285 vaccinesto state partners and federal programs for administration.
- Michigan reports administering 2,753,502 dosesof vaccines for priority groups as of March 9, 2021.
- Michigan reports 9% of the state population has received a vaccination as of March 15, 2021,
This herculean effort is only possible because of our talented and dedicated medical practitioners and medical practices across the state that continue to reflect excellence, professionalism, and compassion in their care of our residents.
As we celebrate these accomplishments, we must also use them as a catalyst to spur our continued efforts – the task is far from completed. The following information provides vital updates that are necessary to help you carry out your role in these efforts.
New Regional Community Vaccination Site in Detroit
We are pleased and excited to share the announcement by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that Michigan has been chosen as one of only a few select states to receive a Regional Community Vaccination Site. Selected by FEMA and the CDC, this new vaccination site at Ford Field in Detroit, southeast Michigan, will open on March 24, 2021, and have the capacity to administer 6,000 vaccinations each day. The initial eight-week program will operate seven days a week, from 8AM to 8:30PM.
Management of the site will be shared by the State of Michigan with support from FEMA, Wayne County, the City of Detroit, Ford Field, Meijer, Henry Ford Health System, and the Detroit Lions organization.
New Updates for Prioritizing Vaccinations
Due to greater amounts of all three vaccines becoming available and more locations opening to provide vaccinations, the State of Michigan is expanding the vaccination eligibility guidelines. These are the most up-to-date guidelines (dated March 12, 2021)that will now be followed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), public health outlets, and other health care organizations for allocating and administering the vaccines. This guidance is subject to change as information evolves and vaccine availability changes.
- By March 1, 2021, all areas of the state may, as vaccine supplies are available, implement vaccination of people who are frontline essential workers in the food processing and agricultural industries.
- By March 8, 2021, all areas of the state may, as vaccine supplies are available, implement vaccination of people who are aged 50 and up with medical conditions and/or disabilities, as well as caregiver family members and guardians age 16 and older of children who have special health care needs (part of Phase 1C Groups B and C).
- By March 22, 2021, all areas of the state may, as vaccine supplies are available, implement vaccination of people who are aged 50 and up (part of Phase 2), as well as vaccination of people aged 16 and up who have disabilities and/or medical conditions, as well as their caregiver family members and guardians.
- By April 5, 2021, all areas of the state may, as vaccine supplies are available, implement vaccination of all people aged 16 and up who were not previously eligible.
These new guidelines will help medical authorities and practitioners achieve these overarching goals:
- Efficiency – These new guidelines eliminate complex rules for defining essential/frontline workers to speed the pace of vaccinations.
- Effectiveness – MDHHS wants to move quickly, but maintain an effective strategy of targeting the vaccine to those who are at the most risk, namely those of greater age (80% of deaths have occurred in those 65 and up).
- Equity – The new simpler criteria help to eliminate differential access based on income or privilege. We also seek to ensure that outreach and education efforts overcome barriers to access for the most vulnerable.
New B.1.351 COVID-19 Variant Identified in Michigan
Information provided by the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories on March 8, 2021, confirms that the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.351 was identified in Michigan. A male child living in Jackson County was discovered to have this variant of the virus.
Additional studies are needed to fully understand the potential impacts of this variant strain on vaccine efficacy. There is evidence that suggests some of the mutations of this variant may restrict the vaccine’s ability to recognize and neutralize the virus. At this time, continued efforts at vaccination, social distancing, wearing masks, proper hygiene and other personal measures are still our best defense against this new variant. More information about this and other reported variants can be obtained on the CDC Covid-19 Variants web page.
Other up-to-date information can be obtained at https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.