Per the Statewide Press Release issued March 12, 2021
To continue progress toward state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and bringing a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials today announced the state is expanding vaccination eligibility for Michiganders ages 16 and older with disabilities or medical conditions that put them at high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome beginning Monday, March 22. The state is also announcing that beginning Monday, April 5, all Michiganders age 16 and up who were not previously eligible will be eligible to receive a vaccine.
With the expanded vaccine eligibility, providers are still encouraged to schedule appointments and allocate vaccinations to residents based on 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.
This is in addition to a recent announcement that MDHHS was moving forward with vaccination of 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 as of Monday, March 8. Also beginning Monday, March 22, vaccine eligibility is expanding to include all Michiganders 50 and older.
All vaccine providers may begin vaccinating the new priority group of 16-49 with medical conditions or disabilities by Monday, March 22. MDHHS is accelerating vaccination of these individuals due to concern around disparity in life expectancy and in an effort to remove barriers to vaccine access. Based on the anticipated amount of vaccines becoming available to the state and President Biden’s directive that all adults should be eligible by May 1 , Michigan has decided to move forward with allowing all Michiganders who were not previously eligible to begin receiving vaccine on Monday, April 5. As providers are scheduling appointments, they should consider an individual’s risk of exposure due to their employment and their vulnerability to severe disease in determining how to schedule appointments. It is anticipated that it may still take several weeks beyond April 5 for everyone who wishes to receive a vaccine to have an appointment.
Those eligible to receive a vaccine should:
- Check the website of the local health department or hospital to find out their process or for registration forms; or
- Check additional vaccination sites, such as local pharmacies like Meijer, Rite Aid or Cardinal Health (U.P. residents); or
- 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.
West Michigan residents can find region-specific information at vaccinatewestmi.org
It is important to note that, while supplies are increasing, there remains a limited amount of vaccine available, so there may be a waitlist for available appointments. As more vaccine becomes available, the state will continue to move more quickly through the priority groups.
There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. Michiganders should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects such as low-grade fever, sore arm and general discomfort, which indicate that the vaccine is working. There is a robust state and national process for tracking vaccines and reporting side effects.