By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
Lansing, Mich. – Yesterday, Governor Whitmer announced that the window for vaccinations is about to open wider, with people aged 65+ and certain essential workers to be eligible to receive the first dose of the vaccine starting Monday, Jan. 11.
Essential workers who work in education and childcare, frontline county state and federal responders, and staff in jails, prisons and shelters will be eligible beginning Monday.
If you’re eligible for a vaccine, visit Michigan website to book an appointment. However, vaccines are still scarce at this stage of distribution, so many may possibly not be able to receive the vaccine.
The announcement came during a Press Conference in Lansing, with the Governor talking about improving COVID-19 numbers due to social-distancing measures and the majority of residents wearing masks to protect others.
In the press conference, Governor Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun explained that the majority of COVID-related deaths – around 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan – happen to those aged 65 years and older. This has been a focus for the State of Michigan.
“In addition to vaccinating Michiganders who are 75+ in Phase 1B, MDHHS is accelerating to vaccinate individuals 65-74 years old,” says a press release published by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “MDHHS is accelerating implementation of vaccination of individuals 65-74 years due to concern around disparity in life expectancy by race/ethnicity for this group.”
The next phase of vaccine distribution for the State of Michigan is phase 1B, which starts on Monday, Jan. 11. After that phase, individuals who are aged 16 and older who are at serious risk of illness due to COVID-19, as well as a new round of essential workers will be able to receive the vaccine.
In the final phase, anyone age 16 years and older will be able to schedule to receive a vaccine. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Michigan encourages everyone to begin making a plan to receive the vaccine once it’s made available.
“Like other tools we use in medicine to keep people alive and healthy, these vaccines are an important tool to end the pandemic and save lives,” said Dr. Khaldun. “The stakes are just too high for us not to take this opportunity to save ourselves. While it will be several months before we have enough vaccine to be able to vaccinate everyone who wants one, this is the way that we will end this pandemic.
“If we keep our cases low while vaccinating as many people as possible, we will beat this virus. So please begin planning now on how you will get the vaccine when it becomes available to you.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer also shared Dr. Khaldun’s message, saying that anyone who’s eligible should schedule to get their vaccine as soon as possible.
“The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” said Governor Whitmer. “I urge all seniors to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and that all Michiganders to make a plan to get vaccinated when it becomes available to you.”
It’s unclear when the next phase will begin and how availability will be set for the various regions of the state at this moment. According to Gov. Whitmer, there have already been 152,511 vaccine doses already administered in Michigan as of yesterday. Around 800 healthcare providers are already enrolled in the vaccine distribution across the state.