In a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials announced the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, Jan. 11.
MDHHS is moving forward with vaccination of Michiganders age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers. In addition to vaccinating Michiganders who are 75+ in Phase 1B (Phase 1B, Group A), MDHHS is accelerating to vaccinate individuals 65-74 years old (Phase 1C Group A). MDHHS is accelerating implementation of vaccination of individuals 65-74 years due to concern around disparity in life expectancy by race/ethnicity for this group (Phase 1C, Group A).
Immediately following the press conference, the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) issued the following statement from Julie Novak, MSMS Chief Executive Officer:
Increased access to the COVID-19 vaccine is critically important to ending this pandemic. As the state moves in this direction, it is also important to note that many independently practicing physicians and their staffs within the 1A group have not yet been given access to or received the vaccine. These are frontline healthcare workers who are diagnosing and treating COVID patients each and every day. In fact, these health care heroes are successfully managing these patients from their offices; thereby allowing them to remain at home and out of the hospital.
Primary care physicians (PCPs) are responsible for the majority of the regularly provided vaccinations in Michigan. In fact, while the State of Michigan makes a push get all patients caught up on all needed vaccinations, the COVID-19 vaccine has not been made available to the physicians and their staff who know these patients and have the expertise, equipment and processes in place to administer these vaccines. These physicians and their staffs have been left out of the initial distribution plan. In order to protect frontline health care workers and increase access to the COVID-19 vaccination for everyone in a timely manner, this needs to change.
As the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, and moves into new phases, you will want to prepare for you and your practice staff to receive the vaccine. If you have not yet received the vaccine from an employer, health system, or physician organization, contact your local health department.