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Michigan isn’t getting extra vaccine to fight COVID surge

State seeing fastest COVID growth in United States
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan’s request for a vaccine surge from the federal government was denied

The “Washington Post” reports the Biden administration rejected Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request.

The state said it needs more doses because of the explosion in cases.

The governor wants to fight it with vaccines, not more restrictions on gatherings.

“Vaccination at this point is the only answer we’ve got,” said Marcus Cheatham, Mid-Michigan District Health Department’s health officer.

Michigan’s COVID cases continue to jump significantly and faster than any other state.

The state reported 7,819 new cases Friday.

Cheatham said that’s because most of the cases are the more contagious U.K. variant.

“I would say Mid-Michigan, right around sort of the heart of the state is really one of the hot spots,” he said.

That’s why Gov. Whitmer is trying to get more vaccine to the state.

Cheatham said they can handle extra doses.

“We could be going two to three times faster if we had the doses, absolutely,” said Cheatham.

Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said more vaccine would stop new variants too.

“More people vaccinated means less possibility for this virus to find a host, replicate and mutate even,” said Vail.

Right now the federal government is allocating doses primarily based on population, and that doesn’t appear to be changing.

At the beginning of the month, Michigan started getting 620,000 doses a week.

Places like pharmacies and community outreach centers get their own doses.

The CDC said it is working with the state on where it can put the vaccine supply it is getting.

“And we’re working with the state to try and encourage that areas that have increased amount of, um, of outbreaks that we can really see, um, are the state of surging vaccine supply to those areas,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.

Vail said if Ingham County had unlimited vaccine and volunteers, the rapid growth in new cases would slow down.

“The plans basically got people vaccinated within a matter of weeks. You’ve got a lot of people vaccinated already, it would not take very long,” said Vail.

A little more than 3 million people in Michigan have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

That means the state is more than half way to its goal of vaccinating 70% of the population 16 and older.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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