Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine plan expands to 50+ with certain conditions: What to know

Info on eligibility, qualified medical conditions

Michigan will expand its COVID-19 vaccination plan to include all Michigan residents aged 50 and up by the end of March.

Key points of the expansion:

  • Starting Monday (March 8), any Michigan residents age 50 and up with pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities will be eligible to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. Caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs will also be eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • On March 22, all Michiganders age 50 and up will become eligible.

More info: Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

We’ve got some answers to common questions on the Michigan COVID-19 expansion below (from MDHHS).

What medical conditions would make me eligible for vaccination during this phase for those individuals age 50 and older?

Certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. Severe illness from COVID-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the ICU, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death.

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

The following medical conditions might place an individual at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, and are therefore also eligible for vaccination in ages 50 and above at this time:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2 , but < 30 kg/m2 )
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

I am a caregiver of a child with special health care needs. Am I eligible to receive a vaccination?

Caregiver family members and guardians age 16 years and older of children with special health care needs may be vaccinated at this time. Special health care needs include any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.

I am 50 years or older but do not have any underlying health conditions or disabilities. When am I eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Beginning March 22 and as vaccine supplies become available, individuals age 50 years and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

I am not aged 50 years or older but do have underlying health conditions or disabilities. When am I eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

President Biden has stated that the United States will have produced enough vaccine for all adults by the end of May. As more supplies are produced and become available, MDHHS will quickly change the prioritization guidance to increase eligibility for populations living with underlying health conditions or disabilities.

There isn’t enough vaccine for the groups currently being vaccinated, why are we adding more?

It is important to note that phases of vaccination will be adjusted based on many factors which include efficiency, effectiveness and equity. Data is being evaluated to ensure that those with the highest risk and roles in supporting communities are identified for vaccination based on the available supply. We understand the challenges and appreciate everyone’s patience while we work to utilize all vaccine accordingly.

More info: Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge answers COVID vaccine questions

I am a person living with a disability. Am I eligible to receive a vaccination?

Persons living with disabilities age 50 or older are eligible to be vaccinated at this time (March 8). The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability.

Examples of major life activities include eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, bending, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. In addition, the ADA also includes major bodily functions (e.g., “functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions”).

Here’s the full vaccine FAQ from MDHHS (updated March 3):

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.