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Whitmer, local health departments request release of more vaccine doses

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:17 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Just four weeks after states started receiving the COVID vaccine, the federal government says it’s time to move on to the next phase.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it will honor Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for more doses.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says it’s hard to guess how many more doses Ingham County might get, but she says they’re ready for many doses to come their way.

Nearly 38 million total doses of vaccine to date, including about 25 million first doses, have been made available for states to order again with more becoming available this week.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced they’ll be releasing millions of vaccines currently being held back for second doses.

That’s good news for local health departments that don’t have enough supply.

“There is not enough vaccine right now. Our health department only got about 1,600 doses and we have 50,000 1A’s and 1B’s to do. So just because you’re in that group doesn’t mean you can get vaccinated. You almost certainly can’t,” said Marcus Cheatham of Mid-Michigan District Health Department.

Secretary Azar also called on states to move on to Phase 1B, which includes vaccinating those 65 and up.

Michigan already started that process on Monday.

“There was never a reason that states needed to complete vaccinating all health care providers before opening vaccinations to older Americans and more vulnerable populations,” said Azar.

However, hospitals and health departments here in Michigan are still working out kinks in the distribution process.

“You can get the vaccine to Michigan. You can get it to Clinton County, but can you get it into people and honestly your hospitals, the health departments, the other folks, the national guards, the pharmacies, we’re learning right now,” said Cheatham.

News 10 reached out to Governor Whitmer’s office to find out if Michigan has been able to purchase any more doses of the vaccine. There has not been a response yet.

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