LANSING, Mich. – Michigan announced some major updates to its COVID-19 vaccine strategy, including changes for food processing, agricultural and mortuary service workers and some people age 60 and up.
“I am excited to announce initiatives that will help enhance the state’s equity strategy and allow us to get more vulnerable Michiganders vaccinated,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health of Human Services. “Workers in higher risk agricultural settings have been adversely impacted by this pandemic. We also know that we need to remove barriers to vaccine access for our most vulnerable individuals in Michigan, including those with disabilities, lower income, and racial and ethnic minorities.
“These steps will allow our federally qualified health centers across the state to begin vaccinating and will prioritize vaccine allocation to partnerships and providers who are removing barriers to access. This strategy is important as we move forward with our goal to equitably vaccinate 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and over as quickly as possible.”
Here are the major takeaways from Monday’s release:
Mortuary service workers
Starting immediately, mortuary service workers who routinely work with infectious materials, will be able to be vaccinated as part of group 1A, the state announced.
This update is in accordance with CDC and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations, Michigan officials said.
41 new vaccine centers
MDHHS announced 41 federally qualified health centers across the state will start receiving doses to help vaccinate residents age 65 and older.
These community health centers are located in medically underserved areas to provide high-quality, affordable and comprehensive medical services to everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from or their ability to pay, the state said in a release.
Residents 60 and up
Currently, Michigan residents age 65 and older are eligible to be vaccinated.
Now, providers with specific plans to remove barriers to access across the state will also be allowed to request vaccines for people age 60 and up, the state announced.
Food processing, agriculture
MDHHS announced workers in food processing and agricultural settings will be able to get vaccinated as of March 1.
This includes about 79,000 Michiganders, officials said.
This will help ensure the health and safety of Michigan’s essential food and agriculture workers and keep the state’s food supply chain moving, MDHHS said in the release.