Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vaccinated at Ford Field

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was given her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Ford Field Tuesday as she continued to urge all Michigan residents age 16 and older to get vaccinated as the state fights a new surge of cases.   

"This is another great moment," said Whitmer, who was vaccinated along with her daughter, Sherry, 19. "Our ability to vaccinate more and more Michiganders and protect people is what's going to get us back to normal, which is a goal we all share."  

Whitmer's vaccination and appearance in Detroit came as Michigan leads America in COVID-19 cases by population.

More:How 'perfect storm' resulted in Michigan leading nation in new COVID-19 cases

A day prior, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said "Michigan is by far the most dangerous place" to be infected with COVID-19 right now.

According to the New York Times data tracker, Michigan has 13 of America's top 20 cities in case loads per capita. That includes the top six — Jackson, Detroit, Flint, Monroe, Owosso and Lansing — and seven of the top eight. New York City was the only place outside of Michigan to crack the top eight.

Through Monday, Michigan had added 596 deaths and more than 100,000 cases in the last 28 days, a faster pace than any other state.

Whitmer has argued that vaccination is the way to the end of the pandemic rather than additional restrictions. Besides to the novel coronavirus, Michigan has at least five variants of the illness.

Whitmer blamed the rise in cases on three factors — variants, mobility and a lack of compliance with existing policies, such as wearing a mask.

"This is not a policy problem," the governor said Tuesday. "Taking steps back isn't going to fix the issue. What we really have to do is put our foot down on the pedal on vaccines."

In January, Whitmer created the Protect Michigan Coalition to "help to ensure every Michigander has a plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 once the opportunity becomes available."

On Tuesday, the coalition's focus was on youth. Any Michigan resident 16 years old and older is eligible for the vaccine in Michigan.

The coalition selected seven teenagers to serve as "student ambassadors." The teens were vaccinated Tuesday.

Overall, Michigan's goal is to achieve 100,000 vaccinations per day, Whitmer said last week. The previous goal had been 50,000 shots per day. Roughly 37% of Michigan residents have received at least one shot, and about 23% of the state is fully vaccinated.