State releases 4-phase COVID-19 vaccination plan

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Public health officials on Friday rolled out their four-phase plan for how COVID-19 vaccines will be doled out in Michigan.

As officials have previously said, Phase 1A includes health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.

Phase 1B will be workers in essential industries, including labs and mortuary workers. Phase 1C includes people who are at high risk for contracting a serious case of the virus because they have a medical condition or are older than 65.

“We have received some correspondence from some industries and we do review those letters and consider everyone’s input, but we are keeping with our principles, guidance that has come from the CDC and the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) as we have thought through this interim guidance for prioritization,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said during a Friday virtual press conference to discuss the plan. “And I emphasized interim because it is very possible that this may change. As with everything COVID-19, we have to pivot, be nimble and evolve as we learn more.”

Phase 2 will be a mass vaccination campaign for everyone.

The state noted that the phases will likely overlap. Timing will depend on how many vaccine doses are dedicated to Michigan. Some doctors have estimated it will could be as late as April before shots are available to the lowest-risk groups.

State officials said you may see some side effects after getting immunized, including a low-grade fever or fatigue. But they explained this is not alarming.

“These side effects for this vaccine really are fairly minimal,” Bob Swanson, director of immunizations for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, explained. “Truly, that’s your system, your body showing that there is an immune response to this vaccine,” preparing you it to fight off the actual virus.

The state also promised that you will not have to pay anything when you get your shot, though providers may bill your insurance for administrative costs.

The Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of the vaccine Friday evening. Trucks were expected to start rolling out of Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Portage almost immediately.

The U.S. Marshals Service said it will be providing security for vaccine distribution, explaining it is handling the mission because it is in charge with security for the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies.

“We have teams of highly trained Marshals Service deputies who are executing this mission,” a Friday statement from the Marshals Service read in part.

Michigan expects its first shipment of Pfizer vaccines to include about 84,000 doses. Assuming Moderna’s vaccine will also be approved later this month, Michigan will get 173,000 doses right away. The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots three weeks apart and the Moderna vaccine two shots four weeks apart.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday announced she was creating a large bipartisan task force aimed at educating people in Michigan about the vaccine and encouraging them to get the shot. If you want to be a member of the Protect Michigan Commission, you can apply online at Michigan.gov/appointments by Dec. 28.

The state also stressed that even as vaccines start being rolled out, people should keep practicing social distancing and wear masks in public.

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