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All Michigan residents age 16 and up eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5

People age 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities will qualify.
Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 11:53 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Friday Michigan announced that all residents age 16 and up will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5, nearly a month before the May 1 date pledged by President Joe Biden.

People age 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities will qualify starting March 22, when 50- to 64-year-olds can begin getting shots under a previous announcement. Two days later, on March 24, a federally selected regional mass vaccination site will open at Detroit’s Ford Field to administer an additional 6,000 doses a day for two months.

With the expanded vaccine eligibility, providers are encouraged to continue to schedule appointments and allocate vaccinations to residents based on the highest risk, including older residents, essential workers, and frontline workers. The most recent vaccine prioritization guidelines can be found on Michigan’s COVID-19 website.

“The safe COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family, and others from the virus,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “It will help the country get back to normal and help the economy. Nearly one million Michiganders of all races have already been safely vaccinated. I urge all eligible Michiganders to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines. It is essential to getting our country back to normal so that we can all hug our families, get back to work, go to restaurants, send our kids to school, play sports, and get together again. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid large indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eliminate this virus together.”

The U.S. is expecting to have enough doses for adults by the end of May, but Biden has warned the process of actually administering those doses will take time. As of Wednesday, about 22% of Michigan’s 16+ population had been fully or partially vaccinated.

“Over 2.7 million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccines have been administered in Michigan, and we are well on our way to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders age 16 and up,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We are pleased to lay out our plan for when every Michigander age 16 and up will be able to get a vaccine. We will continue to focus our efforts on removing barriers to access for our most vulnerable to exposure and those at highest risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. These vaccines are the way we are going to end this pandemic and I urge Michiganders to make a plan to get your vaccine when you are eligible.”

Even with the increase of COVID-19 vaccinations, Khaldun urges everyone to continue to practice preventative measures such as properly wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the virus until the vast majority of people have been vaccinated.

Important dates to keep in mind:

March 8: Vaccination opens for Michiganders age 50 and older with medical conditions or disabilities and caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs

March 22: Vaccine eligibility is expanding to include all Michiganders 50 and older.

“This important step will allow individuals who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, including people with disabilities, to get the vaccine,” said Annie Urasky, director of the Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “We thank the Governor and MDHHS for this life-saving expansion of eligibility and will work with them to communicate the news to Michiganders with disabilities.”

“The Governor’s action to expand eligibility has the potential to protect over a million Michiganders with disabilities. We couldn’t be more appreciative,” said Dessa Cosma, Executive Director of Detroit Disability Power. “This would not have been possible without the actions of dozens of disability rights organizations across the state and we are ready as a resource for accessible implementation and delivery.”

The state health department said it may take “several weeks” beyond April 5 for everyone who wants the vaccine to get an appointment.

Medical conditions that place individuals at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 are eligible for vaccination and include:

  • cancer;
  • chronic kidney disease;
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
  • Down syndrome;
  • heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies;
  • immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant;
  • obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2 );
  • severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 );
  • pregnancy;
  • sickle cell disease;
  • smoking;
  • and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The following medical conditions might place an individual at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, and are therefore also eligible for vaccination:

  • asthma (moderate-to-severe);
  • cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain);
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • hypertension or high blood pressure;
  • immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant;
  • immune deficiencies;
  • HIV;
  • use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines;
  • neurologic conditions, such as dementia;
  • liver disease;
  • overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2 , but < 30 kg/m2 );
  • pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues); thalassemia (a type of blood disorder);
  • and Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Those eligible to receive a vaccine should:

  • Check the website of the local health department or hospital to find out its process or for registration forms; or
  • Check additional vaccination sites, such as local pharmacies like Meijer, Rite Aid or Walgreens;
  • Residents who don’t have access to the internet or who need assistance navigating the vaccine scheduling process can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 (press 1), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or can call 2-1-1.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine. Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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