Michigan ramping up vaccination efforts

The state is focusing on getting more COVID vaccine out to more people as fast as possible and pushing back on allegations it's not moving quickly enough.

The State of Michigan is changing its strategy for distributing vaccines for the novel coronavirus. Instead of focusing on specific groups of high risk people in a hierarchical order, the state is opening up vaccinations to large groups of people in the hopes of getting more vaccines into people’s arms, faster.

Last week, state leaders announced Michigan would move eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1A to Phase 1B. That theoretically allowed tens of thousands of people outside of medical settings to receive the inoculation. In practice, many areas don’t have enough supplies of the vaccines to open up access to this new group of people.

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Nonetheless, the state is focused on getting vaccines out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. That’s due in part to a desire to improve Michigan’s ranking among states vying for new doses of the vaccine.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar announced earlier this week the federal government would begin allocating new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to states that are administering them the quickest. The state gets all of its doses of vaccines from the federal government.

Michigan currently ranks 33rd among states in terms of the percentage of its population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Previously, the state had ranked 44th.

However, state officials reject that ranking. State epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callo said a lag in reporting accounted for Michigan’s low ranking.

“We do not have a real-time dose tracker in the state of Michigan,” she said, pointing to a delay in data reporting from pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

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