Michigan set to get record number of COVID-19 vaccine doses next week 

    Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for the state of Michigan and chief deputy director for Health in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at Ford Field in Detroit on March 24 | state of Michigan photo

    The Biden administration next week will increase its COVID-19 vaccine direct allocation to Michigan, by 66,020 doses for a total of 620,040 vaccines, a weekly record high for the state. The allocation includes 147,800 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

    “I’m so grateful to have a partner in the White House that has our backs here in Michigan. We know that the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing COVID-19,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer through a statement. “These additional doses of the safe, effective vaccines will help us slow the spread of the virus, return to normalcy, and continue building our economy back better. As we work closely with our state’s leading health experts to monitor COVID-19 trends, I’m asking Michiganders to double down on smart precautions.”

    Michigan has experienced sharp increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, but the state has not issued any new restrictions. 

    As of Wednesday, Michigan has administered 4.2 million vaccines, moving closer to its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible.

    Beginning Monday, all Michiganders aged 16 and up will be eligible to be vaccinated, but Whitmer this week urged providers to open eligibility early.

    COVID-19 metrics have met the threshold to close some businesses, but the state is keeping them open

    The announcement from the Democratic Biden administration signifies a significant change in the relationship between the White House and Whitmer. Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, often attacked Whitmer, a Democrat, during the early months of the pandemic, and even threatened to withhold resources to the state.

    Whitmer also announced on Wednesday that the state has raised its COVID-19 vaccination goal from 50,000 to 100,000 shots per day. The new goal, she said, is based on the state’s successful efforts to expand equitable and efficient vaccine administration by partnering with private and public organizations in communities across the state, and is made possible by continuous week-over-week increases in the number of vaccines allocated to the state of Michigan. Ford Field in Detroit is now operating in its second week as a regional vaccination site. Meijer, Henry Ford Health Systems, the Detroit Lions and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have partnered with the state to carry out the effort. 

    For 38 days, Michigan has met or exceeded its original goal of administering 50,000 vaccinations per day, Whitmer said. 

    Whitmer continued to call on Michiganders to follow COVID-19-related protocols.

    “Wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance, and as soon as you are eligible, get the vaccine,” said Whitmer. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in it. The only way out is forward and together. Let’s get it done.”

    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.