The state has significantly broadened eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine that will take effect later this month.
Beginning March 22, people age 16 and older who have a disability or medical condition that puts them at high risk for COVID-19 are eligible for a vaccine. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will further open eligibility on April 5 to anybody 16 and older who were not previously eligible.
The change announced today comes after more than 2.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in Michigan since late December, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the state Department of Health and Human Services. The state has a goal of ultimately having 70 percent of residents 16 and over vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on removing barriers to access for our most vulnerable to exposure and those at highest risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. These vaccines are the way we are going to end this pandemic and I urge Michiganders to make a plan to get your vaccine when you are eligible,” Khaldun said in a statement.
Vaccines guidelines are available here.
The state expanded eligibility as vaccine doses become more available, with Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot now on the market and Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. ramping up production during March.
Vaccine eligibility in Michigan expanded March 2 to food processing and agricultural workers. The state early this week extended eligibility again to include people age 50 and older who have a medical condition or disability and for their caregivers, plus guardians of special needs children.
Now that three vaccines are on the market, producers are further ramping up production, and a fourth may become available next month from Maryland-based Novavax Inc., Kent County Health Department Director Dr. Adam London expects weekly shipments of doses from the state to increase dramatically.
“We’re going to ramp up very quickly with our mass vaccine campaign,” London told MiBiz this week.
That should allow Kent County to transition by summer from a mass vaccine effort to what London calls a “forever phase” in which vaccines are primarily available and administered at physician offices, local health departments and pharmacies.