Getting to 70% will be hard and slow

Michigan is already past its first vaccine milestone - 55% vaccination rate. Getting to the next step is going to take a lot longer.

On Monday, the state reached an important milestone – 4.4 million Michiganders, or 55% of the population 16 and older, had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The percentage was especially important. It marked the first step in the governor’s “MI Vacc to Normal” campaign. That campaign promises to remove COVID-19 restrictions based on how many people have been vaccinated.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

Unfortunately, it may take a while to get to the next milestone: 60% vaccination. And it will take even longer to reach the 70% set by the plan as a prerequisite of removing all restrictions.

That’s because, although vaccines are in abundance, there are still a lot of people who won’t get vaccinated. Whether because of health conditions or because of a political aversion to the procedure, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders don’t want to get the shot.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer lamented the vaccine hesitancy during a press conference on Wednesday.

“Every day we’re getting closer to putting this pandemic behind us. The way to get there is to vaccinate as many Michiganders who are eligible as quickly as possible,” she said.

But daily vaccination rates continue to decline. In the week ending Thursday, just 54,000 people were being inoculated per day. The rate was nearly double that a month ago.

At current rates, it could be the middle of July before we reach 70%. But there’s no guarantee current rates will continue, and some health experts predict it could be mid-summer or later before we see vaccinations reach that level.

You can read more on Detroit Free Press.

The average story costs NowKalamazoo $400 to produce. Donate to fund stories like this.