16-year-olds and older included in 4-phase plan for COVID-19 vaccine priority, per MDHHS

Coronavirus

LANSING, MICH. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has expanded its guidance to allow Michiganders 16 years of age and older to receive the vaccine.

The health department also provided updated information on pregnant women and the vaccine in a list of priority groups for vaccination administration.

Today, the health department launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard to help Michiganders track information about the vaccine across the state.

While there is not currently data on the safety and efficacy of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that pregnant women may be offered the vaccine within the priority groups upon consultation with their medical provider.

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step toward reducing the toll the virus is taking on our state,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “As we receive further guidance from our federal partners, these prioritizations may change. While we roll these vaccines out across the state, it is important everyone continues to do their part in fighting this pandemic by wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding gatherings.”

The COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard includes data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry on the number of providers enrolled to provide the vaccine, the amount of vaccine received and doses administered. The dashboard will be expanded over the coming weeks to include vaccination coverage rates by age and race.

MDHHS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. MDHHS has also obtained input from a stakeholder group of Michigan public health and health care leaders and reviewed correspondence from the public.

Phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services. 
  • Phase 1C includes individuals age 16 years or older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all individuals aged 16 years or older.

MDHHS has provided additional prioritization guidance within these categories. It is important to note that vaccination in one phase may not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. Vaccination in these phases will likely overlap. The timing of the start of vaccination in a phase is dependent on guidance from CDC and ACIP, the supply of vaccine from the manufacturer, how vaccine is allocated from the federal level to Michigan and the capacity to administer the vaccine to populations.

Vaccine distribution will roll out over a series of weeks, and current estimates are that by late Spring 2021 enough vaccine will be available for everyone who is recommended to receive it. There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. Michiganders should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects such as low-grade fever, sore arm and fatigue, which indicate that the vaccine is working. There is a robust state and national process for tracking vaccines and reporting side effects.

MDHHS stresses Michiganders should continue to wear masks, social distance from those not in their household and wash their hands often, even after receiving the vaccine.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine. As additional information and resources become available, it will be posted to this site.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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