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Michigan officials look to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as cases rise nationally

Posted at 8:31 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 20:31:51-05

LANSING, Mich. — This week Michigan entered phase 1B of the coronavirus vaccination campaign, opening up eligibility for the vaccine to Michiganders 70 and older.

In a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told the story of a ninety-year-old man who jumped at the chance to get his vaccine.

“He was so excited when he found out he said he flipped. I share this story because I hope all Michiganders are as excited about this vaccine,” Whitmer said.

The man in question, Fred Peeples, is a U.S. Air Force veteran who prides himself on staying in tip-top shape, no matter how old he gets.

“Because I love Fred and I’m very concerned about my well-being,” Peeples explained.

He hopes other people follow in his footsteps in getting the vaccine.

“Then everybody can live a normal life and everybody will be happy and we can all go out and play again," he said.

The Ingham County Health Department has issued more than 6,000 doses of the vaccine.

“Typically, we use every bit of vaccine every week,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said.

Vail said the county is working to open up appointments to the tens of thousands of Michiganders who are already registered for the vaccine.

“As soon as we have enough vaccine to open up more slots and availability, we will push out links to the 47,000 already in there,” Vail said.

Long-term care facilities have seen an uptick in residents receiving the vaccine. But Health Care Association of Michigan President Melissa Samuel said there’s some hesitancy from staff that she hopes a new partnership with SEIU, a union representing healthcare workers, including those who work in nursing homes, can overcome.

“It’s a little bit of the wait and see approach and that’s why we wanted to partner with SEIU to make sure that we’re giving the education and raising awareness about it,” Samuel said.

Sparrow Health Center says they are also working on plans to bring more vaccinations to the public. Health officials at Sparrow say they will be releasing their plan soon.

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