Timeline shows COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Michigan

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
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As the vaccine continues to be rolled out in phases based on availability, Michigan has released a preliminary timeline showing when residents will be eligible to receive their first dose.

The state began vaccinating front-line health care workers in December and earlier this week, extended eligibility to additional health care workers, those in long-term care facilities, residents 65 and older, and childcare, corrections and K-12 school staff.

The timeline shows health care workers, long-term residents and staff, and childcare and education workers will continue to be vaccinated through April and May.

By the beginning of May, other essential front-line workers and people 16-64 years old will have their shots. By July, all remaining essential workers will be up for vaccination.

And mid-August through September will be focused on vaccinating anyone 16 and older.

The state expects to distribute 122,400 doses to hospitals and health departments next week

Michigan, like states across the nation, has been criticized for getting far fewer "shots in arms" than the number of doses they've received from the federal government. An estimated 2,576,000 Michigan residents are considered eligible for the vaccine during Phase 1A and 1B.

Michigan added 1,932 new COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths Saturday for a total of 535,534 confirmed cases, resulting in 13,804 deaths. 

The state also identified its first case of the new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7., on Saturday, an adult female living in Washtenaw County.

The woman recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the variant originated, according to an announcement from the department. The person's close contacts have been informed and are in quarantine.

The B.1.1.7. variant is believed to be more contagious, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months, the health department said in a press release.

The state will only be providing Pfizer vaccines through the rest of the month. About 300,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine was being held in reserve for Walgreens and CVS pharmacies to administer in nursing homes through the Federal Long Term Care Program.

State officials were notified late Wednesday that Michigan could withdraw doses of the Moderna vaccine from the long term care "bank" immediately, and take fewer doses during future allocations, MDHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said Thursday. 

The state is accelerating distribution with the Michigan National Guard and vaccination will take place in different phases that occur simultaneously, Sutfin said.

The Michigan Health Department and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have been criticized for opening vaccinations to people age 65 and older when only about a fifth of vaccine doses had been dispensed. But state health officials say the intent is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

"MDHHS is committed to accelerating vaccine delivery as we work to reach our goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 as quickly as possible with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine," Sutfin said Thursday. 

Doses of vaccine are shipped directly from the manufacturers or distributors to vaccine providers across the state, Sutfin noted. No doses have been shipped to MDHHS. All of the doses the federal government lists as having been distributed, or shipped to Michigan, have been sent either to one of Michigan's 1,218 registered vaccine providers, or banked for ordering by CVS and Walgreens to administer in long-term care facilities.

She said the health department is working with CVS and Walgreens to speed up reporting and has started posting the pharmacies' numbers on the state's vaccine dashboard.

More: What to know about getting vaccinated for COVID-19 in Michigan

"We recognize that there is not enough vaccine for every currently eligible individual with the limited supplies we have and vaccine providers are not able to get all the vaccine they have requested," Sutfin said. "This is why we have asked the federal government to give the State of Michigan more vaccines."

To find a vaccine and schedule an appointment, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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