The state of Michigan expects to receive nearly 84,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine next week if it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration today, announced Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
At the press conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also announced that the state is partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to create the Protect Michigan Commission. The committee will raise awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine and educate residents about its safety and effectiveness.
Pfizer and Moderna have submitted requests for emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccines to the FDA, with hopes that the vaccine will gain approval this week. The state is expecting around 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week and around 173,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine later this month, if approved.
According to the press release, the state plans to prioritize the most vulnerable populations in vaccine distribution. Educators and frontline workers, particularly those who work in critical fields like hospitals and the health care systems, will receive the vaccine first.
“Right now, we are on the brink of great breakthroughs when it comes to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, and we must begin to educate Michiganders about how important it is that we all get vaccinated so we can eradicate this virus once and for all,” Whitmer said in a press release. “That’s what the Protect Michigan Commission is all about.”
As of yesterday, the state has seen over 10,000 deaths and 514 cases per million residents each day, with cases declining for over the last 19 days. The percentage of positive cases in the state has remained at 14%, and 19% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, Khaldun said.
The Protect Michigan Commission — composed of at least 50 state officials — will serve in an advisory capacity to Whitmer and DHHS. Its role will be to reinforce the importance of receiving an approved COVID-19 vaccine, identify certain barriers that residents may encounter and find ways to overcome these barriers, according to the press release.
The announcement of the state’s new commission comes as the University of Michigan is preparing to administer Pfizer vaccines early next week, pending FDA approval. In a briefing last week, Medical School professor Sandro Cinti, who co-leads Michigan Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics Task Force, outlined the steps the University will take to deliver the vaccine as soon as possible.
“We will start on the 15th — probably — of December in our phase one,” Cinti said. “We will ramp up as we get more vaccine. And we’re looking to start vaccinating people on the Hill in the hospital. And then we will also have off-site clinics in ambulatory care. Very quickly, we will move into Phase 1B, which includes the University.”
Daily News Editor Kristina Zheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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