17 important COVID-19 vaccine facts from Michigan’s top health official

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun goes in depth on COVID-19 vaccine facts

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) (Jae C. Hong, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s top health official took a deep dive into COVID-19 vaccine facts Tuesday, including how effective the vaccines are, when everyone can expect to receive them and potential side effects.

READ: 9 major takeaways from Whitmer’s COVID-19 briefing on Dec. 15

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expects the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to join the Pfizer vaccine in being approved in the next week.

The first of Michigan’s front line workers to receive the vaccine got their initial dose Monday.

Doctors at University of Michigan Hospital received a shipment of the vaccines from UPS and talked about the historic moment, which came just 11 months after the start of the pandemic.

“It was a package of hope,” U of M Health System President Dr. David Spahlinger said. “It was a package of hope that we are going to end this, save lives.”

Here are 17 vaccine facts, according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

  1. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective, and is safe.
  2. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been tested in trials, including tens of thousands of people.
  3. The vaccine was developed using a “robust scientific process,” and no steps have been skipped in the approval process.
  4. The vaccine cannot actually give someone the virus. It only shares a specific code with the body to help it recognize the virus and fight it off.
  5. There are almost 300 providers across Michigan that are enrolled and will be able to administer the vaccine.
  6. Hospitals, local health departments, pharmacies, outpatient clinics and others will be able to provide the vaccine to everyone with no out-of-pocket cost.
  7. Michigan is starting the vaccination effort with front line health care workers this week.
  8. By the end of the month, Michigan hopes to be able to start vaccinating residents and staff members in skilled nursing facilities.
  9. Then, Michigan will start vaccinating other essential workers and those who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses.
  10. Michigan hopes to be able to offer the vaccine to the general public by late spring in 2021.
  11. Everyone ages 16 and up should start planning for how and when they will get the vaccine, and they should now what to expect.
  12. Some people will have mild side effects to the vaccine, such as a low-grade fever, arm soreness or fatigue. That means the body is building up its response to fight off the virus.
  13. Residents have to return for a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after the first dose.
  14. Residents will have to return for a second dose of the Moderna vaccine four weeks after the first dose.
  15. After getting the first dose of the vaccine, residents will receive a reminder card telling them when to return for the second dose.
  16. People who receive the vaccine still have to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently.
  17. Experts are still researching whether people who have been vaccinated can still spread the virus to others.

Michigan reported 4,730 new COVID-19 cases and 183 additional deaths (71 from a Vital Records review) on Tuesday, bringing the state totals to 442,715 cases and 10,935 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.