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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Reaching Michigan's next vaccination goals may pose challenge according to analysis

Posted at 1:17 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 13:17:31-04

MICHIGAN — Michigan may not reach its next vaccination goal until August, according to an analysis project from researchers at the University of Michigan.

“It’s going to be tricky,” said Marisa Eisenberg, associate professor of epidemiology & complex systems at the University of Michigan.

Eisenberg’s team is analyzing state vaccination data and says if last week’s rates kept on pace, 65 percent of the population would receive at least one dose by early August, but she cautions it’s unlikely.

“We were in this early phase at first where we were supply limited and everyone really wanted the vaccine,” said Eisenberg. “Now we’re in this phase where we’re demand limited.”

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It’s instead estimated Michigan will reach its next goal, 60 percent, in that time frame.

Last week, Michigan hit its first goal in the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, which would allow in-person work to resume next week.

According to Eisenberg, it’s not uncommon for it to take time to vaccinate the last group of people, noting the four years it took to reach herd immunity for polio. She says it’s difficult to predict when 70 percent could be reached with the COVID-19 vaccine, but says it's a question researchers are looking into.

“When 'MI Vacc to Normal' kind of came out, we were all sort of ready to go and expecting to get there soon,” said Eisenberg. “So, this could mean some slowing in terms of how long it takes for us to get there. The other thing that it will probably mean is there will need to be more work to help people who need assistance getting access to vaccines or are kind of on the fence.”

Eisenberg believes Michigan’s newest eligible group, kids aged 12-15 years old, could boost vaccination efforts. The population makes up roughly five percent of the state.

According to state data, 7.5 percent of the population have already received one dose of the shot; however, Governor Whitmer in an interview with Michigan Radio last week said the age group would not count as part of “MI Vacc to Normal” metrics at this time.

“From protecting yourself and protecting your own family so that you don’t transmit it to them as well, I think getting vaccinated is really important,” said Eisenberg. “The other piece, of course, is to protect your community.”

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