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Biden plan could reduce MI vaccines while state tries to boost interest in getting shots


A new federal policy announced Tuesday by the White House could send some COVID-19 vaccines earmarked for Michigan to other states where the demand is greater. The re-targeted deliveries are part of a federal effort to get the most vaccine doses to where they’ll be used. After an initial surge in vaccinations, people aren’t lining up in the same numbers. Part of that is because the people who were the most willing were the first in line.

“We did not order our full allocation,” said Lynn Sutfin with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “That’s because there has been a change in the supply-demand for vaccines nationally and in Michigan recently.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer last month publicly but unsuccessfully pressed President Joe Biden for more vaccine doses to combat a surge in cases in the state.

Michigan’s weekly allocation based on population is 281,890 doses. But its most recent order is for 140,050.

The state is trying now to persuade more reluctant people to get the vaccine. If that’s a success, the state can increase its orders to get more of what’s earmarked for Michigan.

The President set a goal Tuesday of getting 70% of U.S. residents aged 16 and older vaccinated before July 4. Governor Whitmer issued a plan last week that would lift mask and gathering requirements two weeks after 70% of the eligible population has received at least one vaccine dose.

“So far, Michigan has administered over 7 million doses to more than 50% of Michiganders 16 and up,” Whitmer said in a statement released by her office. “But to reach the 70% target, we will all have to do our part. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get your COVID-19 vaccine.” 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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