Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist says Republicans in Lansing are making it more difficult to boost vaccination rates across Michigan. He says “politicization” of vaccines makes it more difficult to implement strategies that are proven to work. Michigan’s vaccination rate has slowed significantly in recent weeks.
“I’ll be blunt that in terms of state policy, one of the challenges has been the politicization of getting vaccinated itself. And we’ve seen Republican partisans be very, very vociferously anti-vaccine in Michigan, just like they have in other parts of the country.” - Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist
The Whitmer administration is doubling down on efforts to encourage more Michiganders to get vaccinated as the delta variant surges among unvaccinated populations across the country.
Listen: Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist talks about how the state is trying to boost vaccination rates
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist says efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 is “all hands on deck, just like it’s been all hands on deck throughout the pandemic.”
At the suggestion of offering state tax credits for businesses that mandate vaccines for workers and/or customers, Gilchrist says it’s an idea worth exploring, but suggests it would be politically difficult to pursue.
“These are types of things that we need to consider,” says Gilchrist. ”I’ll be blunt that in terms of state policy, one of the challenges has been the politicization of getting vaccinated itself. And we’ve seen Republican partisans be very, very vociferously anti-vaccine in Michigan, just like they have in other parts of the country.”
“And so that’s led to when you talk about things like tax incentives and stuff like that, those are things that we need to go through the legislative process. And Michigan Republicans have shown themselves not willing or not interested in doing things to encourage people to get vaccinated at a high level,” he continues.
Vaccine mandates are widely thought to be effective at getting more employees vaccinated and significantly slowing the spread of disease in those settings.
Gilchrist notes the state’s new MI Shot to Win vaccine sweepstakes as one way the administration is trying to increase inoculation numbers. But since its implementation on July 1, the state’s numbers have continued to slow, leading many to declare that the lottery isn’t working as intended.
“Certainly, the program isn’t over. That program will run through August and we’re not going to end that early,” says Gilchrist. “And I think that every additional person who gets a vaccine dose is a step in the direction that we need to go in. So, we’re going to continue that. But we also, as I indicated, are going to look at more and more programs, we’re looking at more and more communication strategies.”