Michigan residents over the age of 65 and some essential workers — such as school and child care staff, frontline responders, and corrections staff — will be able to start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine this upcoming Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in a press release Wednesday afternoon. 

Those eligible to receive the vaccine on Monday are encouraged to schedule appointments at a vaccine center closest to them. Employers will notify essential workers if they are eligible for the next phase of vaccinations. The state government will provide information to employes, and employers can also check on the michigan.gov website for updates next week.

In a press release, Whitmer said she encourages all seniors to get vaccinated as distribution moves forward.

“The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” Whitmer said. “I urge all seniors to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and that all Michiganders make a plan to get vaccinated when it becomes available to you.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, also said in the press release their strategy focuses on people with the highest level of risks.

“These vaccines are safe and effective, and we especially want our first responders, teachers and older adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Khaldun said. “The strategy we are announcing today is efficient, effective, and equitable, focusing on making (the) vaccine available to those who have the highest level of risk, whether it is because of where they work or because of their age,” 

While the current vaccination phase is not complete, Khaldun said the goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“We knew all along that one phase may begin while the other one is not complete,” Khaldun said. “It is very possible that there is a health care worker right now who may not have a vaccine yet, but we’re starting with another group. Again, our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible as quickly as possible.”

Since the start of vaccinations, the Michigan Stadium has been reallocated as a vaccine center, and Michigan Medicine has released plans to distribute the vaccine in two phases. Phase 1A includes health care professionals and residents of long-term care facilities; Phase 1B is other workers deemed “essential” like educators, food service workers and police; and Phase 1C is all adults over 65 years old and those with high risk medical conditions. Phase 2 includes large-scale distribution to all adults. 

Michigan Medicine received 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 14 and started distributing vaccines the next day, according to Mary Masson, Michigan Medicine director of public relations. The governor’s announcement coincides with Phase 1B and 1C of Michigan Medicine’s distribution plan. 

Masson did not respond by time of publication to The Michigan Daily’s request for comment.

Daily News Editor Jasmin Lee can be reached at itsshlee@umich.edu

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