Answering questions about COVID-19 vaccine efforts in Michigan

More than 430K coronavirus cases confirmed in Michigan

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers COVID-19 vaccine questions

DETROIT – We know many of you understandably still have a lot of questions about the vaccine.

The number one question among viewers is about how they will know when to get the vaccine. It is specifically seniors who do not live in nursing homes asking the question.

The short answer is the state health department and the governor will announce when we can move to the next phases of vaccination and which groups that will include.

Right now, the first shots are designated for frontline health care workers and nursing home staff and residents.

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Once those groups are nearing completion, expect to hear more details about when and where the next groups can get vaccinated.

The Pfizer shot in particular is not one that your doctor’s office would be able to store, so you will likely need to go to a major pharmacy to get the shot. Some counties are also planning drive-thru events, when the time comes.

It’s likely that when the general public starts getting vaccinated in April, shots will be scheduled through doctor offices, CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies, the same way people get flu shots.

However, final plans will depend on what other vaccines besides the Pfizer and Moderna ones are out there.

How will the first doses of the vaccine get to health workers?

Hospitals and medical groups are contacting health workers to schedule vaccine appointments. Fedex and UPS will transport the vaccine throughout most of the country, and each delivery will be followed by shipments of extra dry ice a day later.

Pfizer designed special containers, with trackers and enough dry ice to keep the doses sufficiently cold for up to 10 days.

Every truck carrying the containers will have a device that tracks its location, temperature, light exposure and motion.

Pfizer will ship the special coolers, each containing at least 1,000 doses, directly to locations determined by each state’s governor.

How will the vaccine get to nursing homes?

The pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens have contracts with the federal government to send teams of pharmacists and support staff into thousands of long-term care facilities in the coming weeks to vaccinate all willing residents and staff members.

CVS and Walgreens are both planning to administer their first vaccinations on Dec. 21. More than 40,000 facilities have chosen to work with CVS.

Nearly 35,000 picked Walgreens. Each US state has already picked, or will soon pick, either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine for all of its long-term care facilities.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 437,985 as of Monday, including 10,752 deaths, state officials report.

Monday’s update includes 7,205 new cases and 90 additional deaths over the past two days. On Saturday, the state reported a total of 430,780 confirmed cases and 10,662 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases are slowing but deaths continue to rise in Michigan. Testing has remained steady, with more than 45,000 diagnostic tests reported per day, with the positive rate decreasing to near 11% over the last wee. Hospitalizations have increased steadily for the last five weeks, including upticks in critical care and ventilator use.

Coronavirus in Michigan

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.