Officials to Enlist Doctors’ Help in Combatting Michigan’s Lagging Vaccination Rates

The number of people in the U.S. who have been immunized is 58% compared to Michigan’s 55%.

Earlier this week, Michigan hit the 55% vaccinated benchmark to remove work-from-home requirements. Now state officials are trying to figure out a way to give those numbers a boost. 

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Chief Medical Executive Doctor Joneigh Khaldun asked doctors to help put shots in arms. 

“I’m asking every primary care doctor to enroll as a vaccine provider. The most important thing we can do right now is to make vaccines available for whenever someone is ready.” –Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive 

“I’m asking every primary care doctor to enroll as a vaccine provider. The most important thing we can do right now is to make vaccines available for whenever someone is ready,” she said. 

A recent study found that family physicians — not politicians or celebrities — had the most sway in convincing someone to get immunized. 

Khaldun said the state wants to make the inoculations available to those who want them right away. 

“We know that patients trust their doctors, and when they are ready to get vaccinated. We want you to have vaccine on hand. Reach out to your patients now and ask them if they have been vaccinated. And if they have any questions that you can answer about the vaccines,” Khaldun said. 

State of Michigan
State of Michigan

Michigan trails behind the country in its COVID-19 vaccination rate.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people in the U.S. who have been immunized is 58%. Michigan has 55% of those 16 and older with one dose of the vaccine. 

Once the entire state has reached the 60% milestone capacity at sports stadiums and gyms would increase. A curfew on bars and restaurants would also be lifted. At 70%, mask and gathering requirements would be lifted. 

Case Numbers Still High, But Declining

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged people who have not yet been vaccinated to do so, and to not just take her word for it. 

“I encourage you to talk to your family doctor and learn more about how the safe, effective vaccines can save your life and the lives of those you love,” she said. 

Michigan case numbers are still some of the highest in the nation, but the overall case rate has fallen for the past month, and it’s dropped by a third over the past week.  

Those most at-risk of serious complications when it comes to COVID-19 are getting vaccinated, with about 60% of people over the age of 50 inoculated.  

Whitmer praised a northern Michigan county as well as a couple of Southeast Michigan communities for embracing vaccinations. 

“I also want to shout out to Leelanau County for being the first county in Michigan to hit 70%, and Oakland, Washtenaw, Emmet in Grand Traverse for surpassing 60%,” Whitmer said. 

Whitmer: Trip to Florida Not a Vacation 

Also on Wednesday, Whitmer addressed a trip she made to Florida to see her ailing father earlier this year. 

Michigan Republicans have called the governor a hypocrite for asking people to avoid unnecessary travel when she did it herself. However, there were no health orders in place preventing the trek. 

At the time of the trip in March, Whitmer was not vaccinated. She says it was not a vacation and that she would do it again if needed. 

“When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock. But it doesn’t mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her,” she said. 

Whitmer reportedly used a private plane that belongs to Republican political donors to make the trip. 

The governor stressed that use of the plane was not a political gift.   

Whitmer has been hesitant to share details of her travel following the alleged plot to kidnap and kill her.  

 

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Author

  • Russ McNamara

    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.