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State of Michigan reaches significant vaccine milestone

As a result of Michiganders working together toward a common goal, the state was able to reach a monumental landmark in the fight against COVID-19 this week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist on Monday issued statements as Michigan was set to surpass 7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.

“We’ve put shots in arms of one in two Michiganders 16 and up and over one in three are fully vaccinated, including two in three seniors,” Whitmer said. “Our rollout continues to speed up. We administered 6 million doses in just over four months.”

She cautioned that as the state gets closer to the goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, the fight against COVID-19 continues.

“Our case count and hospitalization rates are a reminder that we must continue following basic public health protocols we know work: masks, social distancing and hand washing,” Whitmer said. “The way to put this pandemic behind us, however, is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family and your community and get us back to normal sooner.”

To date, 50% of state residents have received at least one dose, with 38% of state residents being fully vaccinated, moving the state closer to its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible, the governor’s office said.

“We can end this virus on our terms by ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” Gilchrist said. “The COVID-19 vaccine has been tested for safety and is trusted by doctors. From smallpox to polio and now COVID, vaccines have a long history of hope and healing. The COVID-19 vaccine is our best shot to being free from this pandemic, and the quickest way for our lives to return to normal is for everyone to get vaccinated.”

It’s pretty remarkable that in the handful of months we have had the vaccine available to us, Michigan has been able to get at least one dose of the vaccine into the arms of half the population. This is an impressive achievement, but there is still work to be done. With the Food and Drug Administration expected to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine by next week for children ages 12 to 15, we are likely to see the percentage of vaccinated to climb a bit. However, we won’t be able to realistically reach the goal of 70% of Michiganders unless some of our residents who are on the fence decide to do their part, and get the vaccine to help reach herd immunity for the entire state.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but we could be very close,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told The Associated Press. “Something I am asked often is when will the pandemic be over and when can we go back to normal. The reality is: It all depends on the actions we take now.”

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