Michigan to expand COVID-19 vaccine plan to include residents age 50 and older

Residents age 50 and older with pre-existing conditions, disabilities to become eligible next week

FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, three vials of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are pictured in a new coronavirus vaccination center at the 'Velodrom' (velodrome-stadium) in Berlin, Germany. Slow off the blocks in the race to immunize its citizens against COVID-19, Germany faces the problem of having a glut of vaccines and not enough arms to inject. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, FILE) (Michael Sohn, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LANSING, Mich. – The state of Michigan will be expanding its COVID-19 vaccine plan to include residents age 50 and older.

Next week

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, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

Caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs will also be eligible to receive the vaccine, starting Monday.

“The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” Whitmer said. “I urge all eligible Michiganders to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines to protect you, your family and your community.”

Later this month

On March 22, all Michiganders age 50 and up will become eligible, Local 4 has learned.

More than 40% of Michiganders age 65 and older have been vaccinated, according to the state.

“Over 2.3 million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccines have been administered in Michigan, and we know more vaccine is coming into the state,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We are pleased to expand eligibility for more people to get vaccinated as we continue to focus on our most vulnerable and those at highest risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.”

Michigan to open COVID vaccinations to people 50 and older with preexisting conditions starting Monday

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

Vaccine updates

This updated plan comes after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine became the third vaccine authorized in the fight against the virus. A company in Grand Rapids, Mich. has been part of the manufacturing process for that vaccine.

“This is truly a remarkable achievement,” Whitmer said. “It is a proud, proud moment for our state, with two of the three vaccines being made right here in Michigan by Michigan workers.”

Pfizer and Moderna are the other companies that have received emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines.

Michigan will receive an additional 82,000 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, she said.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that ramped-up vaccine production will provide enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end May.

Whitmer said it’s a “miracle of science” that three effective COVID-19 vaccines have already been approved less than a year after the first cases of the virus were confirmed in Michigan.

As of Tuesday (March 2), Michigan had administered exactly 2,269,495 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, according to the governor.

Related: COVID vaccine trials underway in older children: What to know

About the Authors:

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.

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.