Vaccines open to everyone

The state is opening vaccine eligibility to everyone in Michigan age 16 and over.

As of Monday, anyone in Michigan who is 16 years old or older is eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

That comes at the same time as new infection numbers have hit their highest rates since the fall surge of the pandemic and state health leaders are pushing to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

There are three vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S. Vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and by Moderna each require two shots to be fully effective. A vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson only requires one shot.

Only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approved for use with people age 16 to 18. The others are only permitted to be used by adults.

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Some areas have gotten a jump start on inoculating younger people. Last week, Kalamazoo County opened up vaccinations to everyone 16 and older.

So far, 1.7 million people in Michigan have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That’s about 21.5% of the population. Kalamazoo County is slightly ahead of that, with 24.5% of its population having been fully vaccinated.

A large number of those fully vaccinated are older adults. More than half of people age 65 and older have received a complete round of COVID-19 vaccine. That’s a product of initial efforts that were focused on the elderly – also the group most likely to be harmed or killed by the virus.

As with other vaccination metrics, Kalamazoo County is ahead of the curve. Almost two-thirds of people age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated in the county.

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