Oakland County surpasses 70% vaccination rate, some counties lag behind

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Pontiac — Oakland County has reached the state and national vaccinate rate goal of having at least one dose administered to 70% of adults — and a handful of other counties aren't far behind. 

Michigan's second-largest county accounts for 1.2 million people and is the second in the state to reach the goal following Leelanau County, which has 77% of its 19,500 residents vaccinated.

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter announced Friday that while this is a significant milestone, the county is wary of highly transmissible COVID-19 variants that continue to spread.

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, left, elbow bumps with county groundwater contamination specialist Amy Plevinski during a tour of the vaccination stations, Friday, April 2, 2021.

As of Tuesday, Michigan has 13,772 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants — the majority, or 13,301 cases, being B.1.1.7. There are also 318 known cases of the P.1. variant and 71 known cases of the delta variant in the state.

"While reaching this vaccination goal is an important moment to acknowledge, we’re not done fighting this pandemic," Coulter said in a statement. "The delta variant of the virus is still present in the state and Oakland County and these new mutations of COVID are highly contagious. With 30% of our population still unvaccinated, we can’t fully get back to normal."

Next, Coulter said the county is focused on immunizing college students ahead of the fall semester and that only 56.5% of residents between the ages of 16 and 29 have received their first dose.

He encourages unvaccinated residents to talk to their doctors, nurses, friends, or family members who have gotten the vaccine because nearly all new infections and deaths are in individuals who are unvaccinated.

Less than 1% of vaccinated residents have contracted the virus in Michigan. Nearly 84% of those hospitalized from the virus from March 11 through May 15 were unvaccinated, according to the state health department.

Coulter touted the county's initiative of offering $50 pre-paid gift cards to residents as an incentive to get the shot; however, now that the goal has been met, it will no longer be offered.

As of Friday, more than 1,100 gift cards were distributed.

Residents who received their first dose between June 24 and July 23 are eligible to apply for the gift card incentive at www.OaklandCountyVaccine.com. Those who do not have access to the Internet may call (800) 848-5533. All requests must be submitted by Aug. 6.

Vaccines administered 

As of Friday, the state had administered 9.6 million of 11.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine distributed. Nearly 4.83 million people in the state are fully vaccinated.

At the same time, nearly 63% of Michigan residents over age 16 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As children ages 12-15 in the state became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine in May, the increase in the population decreased the percentage of the population vaccinated to about 57.5%.

The state's fully vaccinated population includes 75% of all seniors 65 and older, 62% of people aged 50 to 64; 50% of people age 40 to 49; 46% of people age 30 to 39; 36% of people age 20 to 29; and 36% of people age 16 to 19.

Some counties are nearing 70% of its eligible residents with at least one dose administered, including:

  • Washtenaw County – 69% of its 323,860 people
  • Emmet County – 68.6% of its 29,500 people
  • Grand Traverse County – 68.5% of its 81,100 people
  • Kent County – 63.3% of its 552,700 people
  • Kalamazoo County – 62.2% of its 227,274 people

Wayne County, the largest by population in the state, is trailing behind Oakland with 65% of its residents 16 years and older with one dose, excluding Detroit. The hard-hit city has lagged behind in vaccinations as less than 40% of adults have received one dose.

Areas with less than 45% of residents vaccinated include:

  • Detroit – 39.8% of its 556,400 people
  • Hillsdale County – 39.3% of its 39,316 people
  • Cass County – 37% of its 45,000 people
  • Osceola County – 42.4% of its 20,300 people
  • Mecosta County –  42.5% of its 38,300 people
  • Branch County – 43% of its 37,000 people
  • Montcalm County – 43.4% of its 54,800 people
  • Luce County – 44% of its 5,569 people
  • Sanilac County – 44.3% of its 35,600 people
  • Monroe County –  44.8% of its 130,400 people

Statewide positivity has been increasing for the last three weeks and is at 3.1% – up from 2% last week. Hospitalizations in Michigan are also up 13% from last week. 

Earlier this month, Whitmer unveiled a $5 million initiative offering college scholarships and cash prizes to Michigan residents who have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine, saying the program will save and change lives. So far more than five winners have been chosen, including a Grand Blanc resident who won $1 million for being vaccinated.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_