Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Michigan enters new phase in COVID-19 vaccinations, elderly to be vaccinated Jan. 11

January 6, 2021
<p>Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a press conference for a COVID-19 update on Nov. 19, 2020. Courtesy of Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.</p>

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a press conference for a COVID-19 update on Nov. 19, 2020. Courtesy of Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.

Local health departments will be able to vaccinate Michiganders 65 and older on Jan. 11, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's COVID-19 update Wednesday.

COVID-19 vaccines will also be distributed to some essential workers such as school staff, first responders and jail staff at this time, Whitmer said.

Older Michiganders are encouraged to visit their local health department website to schedule a vaccination appointment when made available.

Michigan recorded its 500,00th COVID-19 case Monday, Whitmer said. At this time, more than 12,000 Michiganders have died from COVID-19 complications.

Michigan plans to use 90% of vaccines within seven days of receiving them, Whitmer said.

"If we are moving fast enough, we will likely run out each week given the allocation we are receiving now," Whitmer said.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also joined Whitmer. As of Tuesday, 12.6% of hospital beds currently house COVID-19 patients, which has decreased since Dec. 4.

On the other hand, 9.6% of tests are positive as of Tuesday. Khaldun said this is concerning because the positivity rate was 8.2% on Dec. 27.

Khaldun also commented on the new COVID-19 variant, which may spread more easily.

"While we have not identified that new variant in the state of Michigan, it is very likely that it's already here or it will be here soon," Khaldun said.

As of Tuesday, 152,000 vaccinations have been administered in Michigan, Khaldun said.

Despite increasing vaccinations, Khaldun encouraged Michiganders to keep wearing masks and social distancing from others outside of their household.

Michigan is one of the top five states in terms of percentage of Michiganders vaccinated, Khaldun said. The goal is to vaccinate 70% of people over the age of 16 as quickly as possible.

"Every shot in the arm is a step closer to ending this pandemic," Whitmer said.

Whitmer also commented on current election controversy, which surrounds vote counting and President Elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump. In Michigan, Biden won over Trump by more than 150,000 votes, according to AP election results.

"We have to put this election behind us," Whitmer said. "We have to move forward together as a nation. We have to keep our eyes on what really is the crisis at hand, because we are still in the midst of the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes."

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