Update on COVID-19 Vaccines in Michigan

COVID-19 vaccine bottles image courtesy WDET.org
COVID-19 vaccine bottles image courtesy WDET.org

Michigan residents 16 or older with underlying medical conditions are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination. The eligibility was expanded on March 22 to include more vulnerable and high-risk populations including those with disabilities. The announcement comes as part of the effort to vaccinate 70 percent of Michiganders and bring a more immediate end to the pandemic. Gov. Whitmer states, “The safe COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family, and others from the virus.”

Whitmer continued to say, “It will help the country get back to normal and help the economy. Nearly one million Michiganders of all races have already been safely vaccinated. I urge all eligible Michiganders to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines. It is essential to getting our country back to normal, so that we can all hug our families, get back to work, go to restaurants, send our kids to school, play sports and get together again. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing and avoid large indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eliminate this virus together.”

As of last week, nearly 2.1 million or 25 percent of Michigan’s 16+ population has been fully or partially vaccinated. Eligible residents can start making appointments for a vaccination. The state health department anticipates it may take several weeks beyond April 5 for everyone who wishes to receive the vaccine to have an appointment.

Medical conditions that place individuals at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 are eligible for vaccination and include:
* cancer; * chronic kidney disease; * COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); * Down syndrome; * heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; * immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant; * obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2 ); * severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 ); * pregnancy; * sickle cell disease; * smoking; * and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The following medical conditions might place an individual at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, and are therefore also eligible for vaccination:
* asthma (moderate-to-severe); * cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain); * cystic fibrosis; * hypertension or high blood pressure; * immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant; * immune deficiencies; * HIV; * use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines; * neurologic conditions, such as dementia; * liver disease; * overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2 , but < 30 kg/m2 ); * pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues); thalassemia (a type of blood disorder); * and Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Besides hospitals and medical centers, vaccines are also available through different sites. Vaccination registration is now open for all currently eligible Michiganders through Ford Field COVID-19 registration. Kroger, Meijers, Rite Aid, and Walgreens are also offering vaccination to those who meet the eligibility requirement.

To schedule an appointment, Michiganders have three options: Online at clinic.meijer.com/register/CL2021, text "EndCOVID" to 75049 or call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and press 1.

Residents who do not have access to the Internet or need help navigating through the registration process can use the state health department hotline to register. They can call 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Residents need to bring a photo ID and proof of occupation if necessary for those who may be receiving their vaccine outside of the county they live in. Those receiving their second dose are typically required to bring their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.