1st Michiganders vaccinated against COVID-19 

    COVID-19 vaccines started arriving and being administered today at Michigan Medicine | Michigan Medicine photo

    Dr. Marc McClelland, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, called Monday a “day of hope.” 

    Some 249 days after the first two coronavirus cases were reported in Michigan on March 10, McClelland became one of the first health care workers in the state to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  

    “This is a great day for our families, frontline workers, small businesses, and Michigan as a whole,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Here, in the state built on innovation and grit, a safe and effective COVID vaccine is being manufactured by Michigan workers at a Michigan business. Our frontline essential hospital workers have gone above and beyond to save lives – including stepping up today to receive vaccines.”

    The vaccinations took place at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor and Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. McClelland along with others took the vaccine that is being produced at Pfizer’s plant in Portage. Hospitals in Michigan and throughout the country are expected to begin vaccinating health care staff as early as this week.

    Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services alongside University of Michigan President Dr. Mark S. Schlissel. | Michigan Medicine photo

    The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that 437,985 state residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 10,752 have died from the virus. Whitmer thanked the state’s hospital and other health care workers for “tireless dedication, bravery and strength” in caring for the tens of thousands of residents who have fought the virus – and for being first-in-line for vaccinations.

    “The significant impact of COVID-19 has led to unprecedented, worldwide collaboration among scientists, medical doctors, health and government officials, and manufacturers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, DHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “The arrival of this vaccine in Michigan signals that the end of this pandemic is near.” 

    Khaldun, however, pointed out it will take several months before enough vaccines can be widely distributed to the general population. 

    A set of questions and answers about COVID-19 can be found here.

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.