GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the COVID-19 vaccine rollout slowly but steadily spreading across Michigan.
State health officials are urging everyone who qualifies to get a shot, saying we need to reach at least a 70% immunization rate to get to herd immunity. So far, 12 states have reached that marker and Michigan still has a long way to go.
The CDC says 59.9% of adults in Michigan have gotten at least one dose: that’s 27th-best in the country.
Vermont has the highest vaccination rate at 82.1%, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. Kent County Administrative Health Officer Adam London says the demographics on who is getting vaccinated — and who isn’t — is developing clearly.
“By and large, it seems like (states), generally speaking, have very similar messages and similar accessibility to vaccine. I think the variables in play are largely demographic and they are cultural,” London told News 8. “The New England states are doing very well. The West Coast states are doing better than average as well. We have the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic states that are kind of in the middle and then we have southern states and some western states that are closer to the bottom.”
London says those trends can be seen in Michigan as well.
“If you look county to county, you see some pretty significant differences. Places like Oakland County, Kent County, Kalamazoo, Washtenaw, Grand Traverse are doing significantly better than average,” London said. “Here in Kent County, we just crossed that 60% mark for first dose. And then some other counties, some more rural areas in the southern portion of the state and in the northern part of the state are doing significantly less well in those counties.”
It’s not all bad news. London does believe the worst of the pandemic is behind us but says COVID-19 and its impact will be around for a long time.
“I really think we are on a path now that we’re going to get COVID under control,” London said. “We’re never going to get rid of it, but certainly in places like Kent County and some other counties around the state where the vaccine rate is much higher, we’re going to see fewer clusters of illness, we’re going to see fewer outbreaks.”
He continued: “But the risk of COVID and outbreaks of it is going to remain real wherever we have vulnerable people. … I do think that some of our smaller communities and some parts of our community where the vaccine rate isn’t as high, we’re going to continue to see outbreaks and clusters of illness for quite some time to come.”