Michigan speeds up COVID-19 vaccinations — even as many eligible residents refuse

The health department says Michigan ranks 11th in the U.S. for shots administered

(WWJ) After a somewhat slow start, state officials say Michigan speeding up vaccinations, and now ranks 11th in the nation for the number of first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered.

Michigan hospitals, local health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers are quickly increasing the pace of "safe and effective" vaccinations in the state, administering three times the vaccine last week compared to the number of doses administered the first week, according to the health department.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracker data, Michigan is 11th in the nation for the number of first doses administered to date (124,689) behind Texas, California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey and North Carolina. Michigan’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard currently shows 152,511 doses administered due to a lag between when CDC posts data and the state updates its information.

“The more people that are vaccinated, the less spread we will have, the fewer deaths and the quicker we can get back to a sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “With a new variant of the virus in the United States, one that may be easier to spread than the current variant, there is more urgency than ever to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

Meanwhile, slowing things down is many people's refusal to get their shots.

Ingham County health officer Linda Vail says nearly a third of those who were eligible to get the vaccine so far have said no for a variety of reasons.

"There's everything from, you know, people wanting to wait until after the holidays...over concerns that perhaps they might have a side effect, and they, you know, didn't want to feel ill necessarily on the holidays," Vail told WWJ's Beth Fisher. "Some people are still working around issues on trust over the vaccine and vaccine process."

"Certainly we have a political divide over COVID, which pours over into vaccinations, related to whether it's even a big deal and something you need to get vaccinated over," she said. "And you have any number of barriers, cultural barriers in communities."

Vail said the best way out of the pandemic is to get 70 to 75% of the people vaccinated.

With that in mind, the next phase of vaccinations in Michigan will begin Monday, when they're opened up to some frontline essential workers — including police officers and K-12 teachers — as well as all Michiganders age 65 and older.

Go to THIS LINK and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. There will be a button for each county once the county begins offering appointments.

“Although we have made progress, there is still a lot of work to do,” Khaldun said. “We have to all continue to do our part to end this pandemic. Wear your mask, wash your hands, continue social distancing and when it is your turn, sign up for an appointment to get the vaccine.”

Additional data information based on CDC tracker data:

• Michigan is ranked 10th in the nation for number of doses distributed (480,750) (behind California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia).
• Michigan is ranked 29th in doses distributed per 100,000 population (4,814) (Tennessee, New York, Missouri, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas are just below Michigan).
• Michigan ranks 40th in the number of first doses administered per 100,000 population (1,249) with California, Nevada, Louisiana, Idaho, South Carolina, Kansas, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi ranking lower. Using Michigan’s dashboard number this would increase to 1,525 per 100,000.

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.     

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images