V-Day at the ‘U’: Michigan Medicine begins COVID-19 vaccinations Monday

Monday, December 14, 2020 - 11:27am

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Michael Bagazinski/Daily

Michigan Medicine will begin vaccinating employees Monday after receiving 1,950 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning, Michigan Medicine spokesperson Mary Masson confirmed in an email to The Michigan Daily.

“Michigan Medicine has mobilized its best and brightest faculty and staff, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields, to develop and execute a robust vaccine distribution program,” Masson wrote.

In total, about 200 Michigan Medicine team members will be vaccinated this week as a “test run” of operational processes, University President Mark Schlissel and Medical School Dean Marschall Runge wrote in an email to the campus community. 

“This is great news and, knowing how challenging the last year has been for all of us, we are optimistic about these first steps on our road back to normalcy after this long journey with COVID-19,” Schlissel and Runge wrote.

University of Michigan officials had anticipated vaccinations might begin as early as Dec. 15, with the Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization granted last week, so the program appears to be on schedule. Michigan Medicine could ramp up the volume of vaccinations as early as next week, depending on supply, Masson wrote.

“Michigan Medicine has about 28,000 employees, so this first shipment is a limited supply,” Masson wrote. 

The 1,950 doses received Monday are part of the state of Michigan’s initial shipment of about 84,000 doses. Michigan Medicine will continue to receive weekly shipments, with eventually enough supply for anyone who wants the vaccine, Schlissel and Runge wrote.

The University’s COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutics Taskforce is using guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify high-priority groups for vaccination. 

Phase 1A includes health care personnel and long-term care facility residents and staff. Phase 1B will vaccinate essential workers in sectors like education, food, utilities and transportation, including members of the University community. Phase 1C includes senior citizens and others with high-risk conditions. Phase 2 will target all adults and is set to being in the spring. 

The campus community will receive a questionnaire this week to determine if they wish to be vaccinated. The form will also ask for health information to help determine vaccine distribution priority. According to the email from Schlissel and Runge, the University will eventually have enough supply for every person who wishes to receive the vaccine.

Schedulers will then contact those who want the vaccine to make an appointment, which may be after several weeks depending on the assigned phase and vaccination availability. The vaccine is not mandatory, and students can change their mind after indicating they want to be vaccinated on the questionnaire. 

More information on Michigan Medicine’s first vaccinations is expected later Monday. 

Daily News Editor Calder Lewis can be reached at calderll@umich.edu.


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