Michigan expects 257,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses initially
By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press
LANSING, Dec. 10, 2020 (AP): Michigan expects to receive about
257,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines initially if the federal
government authorizes them for emergency use this month, enough
to immunize roughly 128,000 residents, a top doctor said
The priority remains frontline health care workers and people
living and working in long-term care facilities such as nursing
homes, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief
medical executive. She will serve on a commission, created by
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to raise awareness on the safety and
effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines that get the green light.
A U.S. government advisory panel later Thursday endorsed mass
use of Pfizer's vaccine. A final decision and the first shots
could follow within days. Later this month, the Food and Drug
Administration is expected to pass judgment on another vaccine,
developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of
The federal government estimates Michigan will get approximately
84,000 doses from Pfizer and 173,000 doses from
Moderna in their first shipments, Khaldun said. Both
vaccines require two shots. State officials hope to distribute
vaccines to the general public by late spring once production
Whitmer, whose health department has prohibited indoor
restaurant dining and closed various entertainment venues to
limit the spread of the virus, announced that those businesses
can postpone by a month their monthly sales, use and tax
withholding payments that are due Dec. 20. They will face no
penalties or interest.
The vaccine panel will have at least 50 members. Chairs include
Khaldun, Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin, health experts such
as Dr. Mona Hanna-Atisha—who helped uncover the Flint water
crisis—Democratic Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Republican
former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
``It'll be uniquely equipped to help reinforce the importance
that we all get vaccinated,'' Whitmer said.
spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human
Services, said that within two weeks of vaccines being
shipped to Michigan, all hospitals and health departments will
receive a shipment. Priority will go to paramedics and health
staff who work on general hospital floors and in intensive care
units and emergency rooms.
Forty-eight hospitals and 12 local health departments have
ultra-cold freezers to store Pfizer's vaccine, she said. The
state is finalizing a contract for dry ice so facilities without
ultra-cold storage capabilities can store it.
Michigan's COVID-19 trends, meanwhile, are mixed.
Hospitalizations have dropped in six of the state's eight health
care regions in the past week, Khaldun said. The statewide case
rate has declined for nearly three weeks. The positivity rate,
14%, ``has not changed significantly'' in recent weeks and ``is
still quite high,'' she said.
Deaths, which lag infections, average 123 a day, up from 85 two
weeks ago, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
Whitmer, a Democrat, and the Republican-led Legislature are
negotiating over her call for $100 million in state spending to
help unemployed workers and small businesses struggling in the