State of Michigan Provides Update on COVID-19 Vaccination Plans

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As COVID-19 vaccines approach final approval in the U.S., the state’s health care, budget, and operations experts are preparing to get Michigan residents vaccinated. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive and chief deputy director for Health and Human Services; Chris Kolb, the state’s budget director; and Trish Foster, Michigan’s chief operating officer, provided an update on where the state stands in this planning process.

Khaldun shared that the state’s goal is to have 70% of Michigan adults vaccinated by the end of 2021. Though ambitious, this goal is not out of reach with proper planning and mobilization. She also expressed the sense of urgency with which the vaccination process is being approached, reinforcing that despite the timeline being condensed, that the vaccines in the works have gone through the complete approval process.

Because the vaccine will only be available in limited amounts to start, the rollout will occur in phases. Vaccinations will begin with health care workers followed by essential works and vulnerable populations.

This structure is to “protect critical infrastructure to society and protect the most vulnerable,” said Khaldun.

The speed and availability of the vaccine, Khaldun said, is dependent on the Federal government’s allocation of the vaccine and manufacturers’ ability to keep up with the distribution. As far as who will administer the vaccine, Khaldun cited several entities, including hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, EMS, and the Michigan National Guard.

Next, Kolb outlined the budgetary components of COVID-19 support, including funding needed to facilitate and distribute the vaccine. The state’s $300 million supplemental request is hyper-focused on ensuring Michigan has funding for COVID-19-related costs (testing, contact tracing, vaccine distribution, etc.), providing stimulus funding for individuals and businesses most impacted by COVID-19, and offering food benefits and child care for children who would otherwise be in school. This is in addition to the $100 million Gov. Whitmer called for – half of which would go to businesses and half to families hardest hit by the pandemic.

According to Kolb, the supplemental recommendations would help maintain critical pandemic activities. This includes testing in prisons, Michigan National Guard support for vaccination efforts, and increasing PPE, testing, and other medical supplies, among other items.

As far as the logistics of coordinating COVID-19 support and vaccinations, Foster said, “I would consider operations the muscle of the overall battle against COVID.”

She noted that the goals and objectives have remained largely unchanged throughout this crisis, with emphasis on:

  • Aligning with private-public partnerships to share resources and knowledge;
  • Keeping up the supply of PPE, which currently maintains a 60- to 90-day stockpile;
  • Improving testing, which is now up to 50-60,000 tests, and increasing the testing streams across the state with more antigen testing options.

Finally, Foster called on partners in the private sector to continue their support to keep supplies stocked and call on Federal agencies who can offer help to do so.

Get the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan at michigan.gov/covidvaccine.


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