By Kory Goldsmith
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference as the COVID-19 vaccine will shortly be shipped to Michigan and outlined the state’s plan for distribution.
Whitmer has created a bipartisan commission within the Department of Health and Human Services. The commission will raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. It will reinforce to Michiganders the importance of getting vaccinated.
There will be 50 people representing the diversity of Michigan, including Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, former Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to name a few.
There are still positions available, if you or someone you know who wants to serve on the commission, apply here by Dec. 28.
Whitmer gave a special shout out to two members of the commision. Blake Griffin donated $100,00 to staff at Little Caesars Arena who are unable to work because of COVID and Hanna-Attisha whose research helped uncover the Flint Water Crisis.
During the first shipment from the federal government, Michigan will receive an estimated 84,000 doses from Pfizer and 173,000 from Moderna. When they are available, these doses will go to front line workers and people living and working in long-term care facilities.
Khaldun said she expects a shipment every week to hospitals, local health departments, and pharmacies that can store them, but didn’t specify the number of new doses she expects to see weekly after the first shipment.
As doses become more available they will go to essential workers, people with underlying medical conditions, and those over the age of 65.
Khaldun is hoping that by late spring the vaccine will be available to the general public. She suggests talking to your doctor now about the risk factors of the vaccine and to find out when the vaccine may be available for you.
Both vaccines are administered in two doses. Pfizer’s is given in two shots three weeks apart while the Moderna doses are given four weeks apart.
Khaldun reminded people that there might be side effects due to the vaccine and which means the vaccine is working.
On Thursday, Michigan recorded 5,937 more COVID-19 cases and 182 deaths with a positivity rate of 10.7%. Kent County recorded 544 new cases and 12 deaths with a positivity rate of 12.5%.
Daily new case average of cases and deaths and positivity are in a decline this week so far in comparison to last week.
“These are 10,000 people whose lives were taken too soon,” Whitmer said in reference to the COVID-19 related deaths in Michigan. “These are people who had family, they had friends, they had children, parents, they had grandchildren. They had hope and dreams for themselves and for their loved ones. Wanted to help their kids learn to drive a car or see their grandchildren graduate from college.”