Getting vaccines to more people – State updates vaccination rules

State health leaders announced updates to vaccination strategies to include mortuary employees, agricultural workers, and people age 60 and older.

State health leaders on Monday announced a slate of changes to the way the state focuses its efforts to vaccinate against the virus that causes COVID-19. The aim is to get vaccines out to more vulnerable populations that wouldn’t normally have access to or even seek out vaccination.

What Happened: Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun made the announcement during a press conference on Monday. The plan will extend vaccinations to a number of groups not previously eligible.

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Mortuary workers who regularly handle infectious materials will be able to receive vaccinations immediately.

People who work in agricultural settings and those in food processing facilities will be able to be vaccinated beginning March 1. Farms and food processing plants have been especially prone to outbreaks of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

The state is also opening up vaccine eligibility to people age 60 and older, but only through health care providers that have removed barriers to access. It is unclear exactly what that means.

Finally, in an effort to reach low-income residents who might not otherwise get vaccinated, the state is sending supplies of the vaccine to 41 federally qualified health centers in the state.

What It Means: There are still hurdles to expanding vaccine access in Michigan. Chief among them is the continuing lack of supplies throughout the state. Health departments and hospitals routinely complain they don’t have enough doses of the vaccine to meet the demand.

You can read more on the Detroit Free Press.

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