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Henry Ford Health System is recruiting people 60 and older to be part of a new clinical trial looking at whether Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, which requires just a single dose, is even more effective when two doses are given. 

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are already in use, require two doses to be fully effective.

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
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Today, on Stateside, we talked with photographer Leni Sinclair about her years of political involvement and her stunning photos of Detroit’s stages and people. Also, how Detroit leveraged help from a large and well-funded partner to coordinate its massive effort to vaccinate residents. 

Grand Rapids History and Special Collections (GRHSC), Archives, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In the archives at the Grand Rapids Public Library, there is a recording, made by the historian Carolyn Shapiro-Shapin in 1998.

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Undocumented immigrants in Detroit who opt to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the TCF Center, which serves as the city’s main vaccination site, will not be targeted by immigration enforcement according to the Detroit Health Department. 

man receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot in his right arm
Spectrum Health

State health department officials say they want more COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Michigan with longer hours. 

Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laid out their strategy for getting 70% of Michigan residents vaccinated in the coming months.  The exact timetable is dependent on the supply of vaccines.

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Vaccine distribution in Michigan has been geographically uneven. But there’s a reason for that, says a public health official in the Upper Peninsula. The hard part, she says, can be explaining that to residents anxious to get vaccinated.

vaccinator giving someone a covid vaccine through the window their car
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Many Michigan counties are looking for volunteers to help vaccinate people against COVID-19. And in some counties, those volunteers are able to get their shots as well.

Washtenaw County is offering that option, said county health department spokeswoman Susan Cerniglia. The county is currently operating one mass vaccination site, with plans to open another when vaccine supplies increase. They also use volunteers on mobile teams that go out to vaccinate vulnerable populations.

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Health organizations in Grand Rapids are setting up a vaccine clinic that they hope will eventually be able to vaccinate 20,000 people per day. The clinic will be at the DeVos Place convention center in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Kent County Health Department, Spectrum Health and Mercy Health are working together to create the clinic.

vaccinator giving someone a covid vaccine through the window their car
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It'll be May, the state estimates, before Michigan can open up COVID-19 vaccines to the next wave of people. But if Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail could somehow get her hands on 83,000 doses of the vaccine – one for each of the county's currently eligible frontline workers, as well people older than 65 – she’s pretty sure she could get all those shots in arms in, say, three weeks.

We're No. 33! Or are we? How Michigan tracks COVID-19 vaccines could cost us

Jan 14, 2021
syringes in a blue basket
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The federal government gave states even more incentive this week to make sure they're getting COVID-19 shots injected into arms as quickly as possible.

States that don't efficiently immunize their people — and report the data accurately — won't get as many doses of COVID-19 vaccines as states that do. The change in the way vaccines are being distributed comes as the virus continues to spread across the nation, filling hospital beds and killing people at a record pace.

courtesy of Spectrum Health

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to buy up to 100,000 of doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on its own.

The federal government already arranged to buy 200 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer, and it’s been coordinating distribution to the states.

But Governor Whitmer, along with governors from eight other states, says that process is taking too long.

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The state of Michigan has begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines, and frontline health workers and residents of long-term care facilities are first up to receive the vaccination.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, old tensions between Governor Whitmer and state legislative leaders flared during the lame-duck session. Plus, a conversation with the author of the satirical novel The Great American Cheese War about its eerie parallels with some of 2020’s biggest stories. And, we talk more about the vaccines and how distribution is going in Michigan. 

Local health leaders say they expect the pace of COVID vaccinations to speed up in the coming weeks.

As of Tuesday, 86,626 people had received the first dose of a vaccine in Michigan. But that’s out of nearly 338,000 doses that have been distributed, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard.

Some local health leaders say they’ve purposely gone slow in the first weeks, because the virus requires two shots, weeks apart.

Harlan Hatcher, Thomas Francis, Jonas Salk, and Basil O'Connor at Polio Vaccine announcement
University of Michigan News and Information Services Photographs, Bentley Historical Library

Crowds cheered this weekend as the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine rolled out of the production plant in Portage, Michigan. It was an emotional moment for some health care workers, too, as they became the first in the state to receive vaccinations. This historic step brings a cautious hope at the end of a devastating year. It also highlights how vaccine production has changed amid shifts in American science, medicine, and culture over the past several decades.

The small city of Portage is playing a big role in getting out Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer is manufacturing the vaccine at its 1,300 acre factory site in Portage, and distributing throughout the U.S.

Patricia Randall is mayor of Portage. She says everyone in town knows someone who works at the plant

“They have offered hope to the world,” Randall says. “I mean we have been unified in the world with suffering. And this has gone on for nine months. And it’s definitely a miracle. It’s a gift that we’ve all been waiting for.”