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New pilot program designed to enhance state’s vaccine equity strategy

The new pilot program is meant to help remove barriers to vaccine access for Michiganders 60 and older who live in communities with high COVID-19 mortality rates.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 3:41 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One of the unexpected complications of the pandemic has been the way it has affected different communities within the same area. Rather than affecting everyone the same, some communities have been hit harder than others, and vaccine distribution has not been uniform.

Now, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) along with the Protect Michigan Commission have announce details for a new program to designed to help enhance the state’s vaccine equity strategy.

“We want to make sure all Michiganders have access to the safe and effective vaccines as we work toward our goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders age 16 and up as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We are working hard to eliminate any barriers to vaccine access. Your ability to get a vaccine should not be impacted by whether you are in a rural or urban part of the state, are lower income, or don’t have access to a car, a computer, the Internet or don’t speak English. This is what equity means.”

The goal of the new pilot program is to help remove barriers to vaccine access for Michiganders 60 and older who live in communities with high COVID-19 mortality rates. The pilot program will also use a Sovial Vulnerabillity Index, or SVI, that uses census data to identify places where a community may have more difficulty preventing human suffering and financial loss in a disaster.

“With this community outreach pilot project, we want to increase the vaccination rate of individuals who are most at risk of negative COVID-19 outcomes and to identify innovative practices for effective vaccination strategies for vulnerable communities,” Khaldun said. “We will consider continuing the program based on the availability of the vaccine and the success of the pilot in achieving our goals to remove barriers.”

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