First Michigan Medicine employees receive COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Payal Patel gets vaccinated against COVID-19 on University of Michigan's medical campus on Dec. 14, 2020. (Joe Hallisy | Michigan Medicine)

ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine began vaccinating its frontline workers against COVID-19 on Monday, with an initial group of five employees.

The first employee to be vaccinated was registered nurse with Survival Flight, Johnnie Peoples. Others to receive the inoculation on Monday included a physician in Infectious Diseases, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department, a physician in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and a resident physician in Internal Medicine.

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On Monday morning, Michigan Medicine received an initial shipment of 1,950 of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech vaccine. Roughly 40 Michigan Medicine employees are expected to be vaccinated starting Tuesday with vaccinations increasing next week, depending on supply.

Nurse Johnnie Peoples becomes the first Michigan Medicine employee to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Dec. 14, 2020. (Joe Hallisy | Michigan Medicine)

“This is a great day,” Marschall S. Runge, CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School said in a news release. “Over the many debilitating months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have longed for the initiation of an effective vaccination program. We are absolutely delighted that we now begin vaccination for the faculty and staff of Michigan Medicine who have cared for so many during this pandemic.

“However, it will take time to get to everyone who wants a vaccine. While distribution continues, it’s vital for all of us to continue to social distance and wear masks when going out in public.”

Experts at the University of Michigan have been working for months on developing a vaccination distribution program.

The first five employees at Michigan Medicine to receive the COVID-19 vaccine pose for a photo on Dec. 14, 2020. (Joe Hallisy | Michigan Medicine)

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to get us to this point: immunizing the first health care workers in our system,” University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said in a news release. “This is a historic moment that reflects outstanding expertise and collaboration.”

In compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization, Michigan Medicine will be administering the vaccine as tested in the clinical trial which requires two doses.

With approximately 28,000 employees and a limited initial supply, the academic medical center will be rolling out a phased approach in line with state and federal guidelines to vaccinate priority groups. These groups will be determined by Michigan Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutics Taskforce which is following recommendations from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun and U-M President Mark Schlissel pose with the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive at Michigan Medicine on Dec. 14, 2020. (Joe Hallisy | Michigan Medicine)

MDHHS follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. An advisory committee for the CDC, ACIP is made up of public health and medical experts who deliver recommendations on vaccine use in the United States.

Phases for the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC and ACIP:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.