Henry Ford Health System gives COVID-19 vaccine update

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Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. in July. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — An official with the Henry Ford Health System gave an update on the hospital’s COVID-19 response. He also spoke about the COVID-19 vaccine and its impact on their health care system and Michiganders.

“From all what we have heard so far the vaccine is both safe efficacious,” said the health system’s Executive Vice President Adnan Munkarah.

He is just waiting on the FDA to approve the COVID-19 vaccines, but “We are concerned that if we do not get enough people vaccinated we will not get to stop this virus from continuing to cause significant damage for our communities, both health care damage and damage beyond that.”

Munkarah said studies show you need about 70% of the population to get the COVID-19 vaccine to get herd immunity, but even when people start getting the vaccine people need to continue wearing a mask.

“Avoid social gatherings because it’s going to be very hard to determine when you walk into a facility who got vaccinated, who did not get vaccinated, why is someone wearing a mask, why isn’t another person wearing a mask,” he said.

Munkarah also wants people to understand the importance of seeking care when needed. He said people are scared and concerned to come to health care facilities due to COVID-19.

“Delaying care has resulted in poor outcomes,” he said. “In fact, there is data at the present time through the state that tells us that the mortality in the past year in our state has been higher than expected.”

He believes that part of this is related to people not getting the medical help they need, but Munkarah said, “Our facilities are safe to provide non-COVID care during this time of the pandemic.”

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