Michigan expects to receive record shipment of COVID-19 vaccine

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan is expected to receive its largest allocation of doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government next week, state health officials said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is expecting a total of 409,340 doses of the vaccine, more than the previous largest shipments received in mid-January, state health department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said.

The largest shipment to Michigan in any one week in January was 343,875 doses, according to the state's COVID-19 website.

In mid-January, the state learned it could access doses beyond its regular allotment by tapping into about 300,000 doses that had been held back from the Federal Long Term Care Program for Walgreens and CVS pharmacies to administer at long-term care facilities.

Those doses were based on the number of care beds at Michigan's 5,000 long-term care facilities, Sutfin said in late January, but many of those nursing homes weren't at full capacity, so doses became available for other Michigan vaccine providers. 

Michigan has used those doses to ramp up to a point that more than 1.9 million doses have been administered out of more than 2.6 million doses shipped to Michigan, according to data on Michigan's vaccine website. Doses are counted as "distributed" to states even while they're are still in transit in the shipping process, Sutfin said last month.

Next week's shipment represents nearly 22% of all the doses Michigan has administered to date. 

A vial of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is held at a vaccination site Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

From Pfizer, the state is expecting 113,490 doses for first shots and 99,450 doses for second shots. It will also receive 98,200 doses each for first and second shots from Moderna, Sutfin said.

Last week's shipments to Michigan were delayed due to weather conditions. The delays affected shipments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines across the country.

The desire to obtain more doses has accelerated with the emergence of the B.1.1.7. variant in the United States, a more contagious mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

There have been 2,102 confirmed cases in 45 states, according to the latest data from the CDC. 

As of Tuesday, Michigan has the second-most cases of the virus variant B.1.1.7. with 336 cases; 192 of those cases are within the Michigan Department of Corrections. Florida has the most with 500 cases of the variant.

The variant, which has become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, is known to be more contagious than the initial version of the coronavirus, and new data showed it may also be 30% more fatal.

Michigan has 586,425 active cases and 15,454 deaths from the virus.

As the vaccine continues to be rolled out in phases, the state said it remains committed to having 50,000 shots administered per day as supplies increase, with a goal to get 70% of the population ages 16 and older, about 5.6 million people, vaccinated "as soon as possible." 

Workers in food processing, an estimated 79,000 Michigan residents, will be able to be vaccinated starting Monday. 

About 16.7% of Michigan's population has at least one dose and 9.5% of residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Reporter Karen Bouffard contributed to this report.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_