MDHHS issues order requiring Michigan nursing homes to offer COVID vaccines to residents on site

Nursing home residents must have option to receive vaccine where they live

A nursing home resident receives a COVID-19 booster shot. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) (Seth Wenig, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich.Michigan health officials have issued an epidemic order that requires nursing homes to offer on-site doses of the COVID vaccine to their residents.

“With the omicron variant rapidly spreading across our state and cases of COVID-19 continuing to remain high, we want to make sure our most vulnerable Michiganders are protected from the virus,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “The COVID-19 vaccine is our best defense against the virus, and we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get up to date.”

Nursing home residents who aren’t up to date on their vaccines must have the option to receive their remaining doses at the place where they live within 30 days of the order, according to MDHHS.

The order does not require nursing home residents to receive the vaccine. Officials said nursing homes should provide information about COVID vaccines so residents can make informed decisions.

If someone can’t make their own medical decision, nursing homes must contact whoever is legally authorized to do so on behalf of that person and let them know that a COVID vaccine or booster is available.

Nursing homes are required to document each person’s consent or refusal to receive the vaccine, officials said.

Nursing home residents were among the first Michiganders approved to receive the COVID vaccine in December 2020, when it became available.

Officials said 74% of eligible Michiganders in nursing homes have already received their booster shots.

In total, almost 2.6 million booster shots and third doses of the vaccinate have been administered across the state -- 1 million to residents 65 and older, according to MDHHS.

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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.