Michigan health officials announce phases of distribution for COVID-19 vaccine

State health officials on Friday gave an update on the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Robert Swanson, the MDHHS Division of Immunizations director, provided information about the distribution of the vaccine, priority groups for the vaccination and efficacy and safety information.

Officials said that initial allocations of the vaccine, once its approved by the FDA, will be limited.

Health care and essential workers and vulnerable communities, such as people age 65 years old or older, will receive prioritization.

Michigan health officials announced that the distribution of vaccines will happen using a phased approach, which is outlined here:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services. 
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.

Vaccination in one phase may not be completed before vaccinations in another phase begins, allowing for phase overlap, health officials said.

There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, but healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs, health officials said.

MDHHS recommends that people continue wearing face masks, practice social distancing and wash hands often even after receiving a vaccine.

Health officials in Michigan have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 18 years of age or older, which is over 5 million adults, by the end of 2021.

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