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Michiganders over age 65, some frontline essential workers can receive safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday

LANSING, Mich. —To help reach the state’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of Michiganders over age 16 and bring a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials announced on Jan. 6 the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, Jan. 11.

Sault Tribe members should be aware that, in addition to receiving vaccinations from the tribe, they have the option of receiving vaccinations from the counties in which they are residents. “Tribal members have rights to exercise a choice to these vaccines in the county in which they reside,” said Sault Tribe Executive Director Christine McPherson. “They do not have to only be vaccinated by their tribe.”

The state moves forward with vaccination of Michiganders age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers. To date, 80 percent of deaths have occurred among those age 65 and older. In addition to vaccinating Michiganders aged 75+ in Phase 1B (Phase 1B, Group A), MDHHS is accelerating to vaccinate individuals 65-74 years old (Phase 1C Group A). 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 (Phase 1C, Group A).

All counties may begin vaccinating residents over age 65 and seniors are urged to visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine to find local health departments and other local vaccine clinics near them that are ready to book appointments. Eligible essential workers, teachers and childcare workers will be notified by their employers about vaccine clinic dates and locations. Eligible individuals should not go to any of the clinics without an appointment.

It is important to note that there is limited vaccine available in the state, and so there will be limited appointments available. As more vaccine becomes available, the state will be able to move more quickly through the priority groups.

Even with COVID-19 vaccinations starting in Michigan and worldwide, Khaldun urges everyone to continue to practice preventative measures such as properly wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the virus until the vast majority of people have been vaccinated.

There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. Michiganders should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects such as low-grade fever, sore arm and general discomfort, which indicate that the vaccine is working. There is a robust state and national process for tracking vaccines and reporting side effects.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine. As additional information and resources become available, it will be posted to this site.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY