Snowbirds could be Michigan’s secret weapon in reaching vaccination goals

Michiganders who were vaccinated out-of-state need to make sure they’re counted as vaccinated

LIVONIA, Mich. – As of April 30, 50% of Michiganders have had at least one vaccine dose. That’s up 0.4% from the day prior.

There’s a possibility that number could be higher sooner rather than later, if those already vaccinated tell the state they’re here.

Specifically, Michigan snowbirds, many of whom got the vaccine down south, and Michiganders who crossed the border into Ohio to get vaccinated in the early phases.

With vaccination numbers tied to reopening the state, it’s critical that every vaccination is counted. The snowbirds just might be a secret weapon, but it’s going to require them to take the initiative and let the state know they’re here.

Rod Vasold and his wife Karen came home to Livonia a few weeks ago after spending the winter just south of Sarasota.

“We registered in the counties around us because everybody was trying to register,” Rod Vasold said. “As time went on, we registered at Publix, CVS and Walmart as vaccines became available.”

Now the two -- and their friends -- are fully vaccinated. They weren’t expecting to see Michigan’s re-opening ties to vaccination rates, but something occurred to Vasold.

“If you’re going to count people vaccinated in Michigan or that have been fully vaccinated that are Michigan residents, you better count the snowbirds,” Vasold said.

And so state officials are ready to do so. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provided guidance for all the snowbirds in a statement that reads in part:

“If a health care provider adds their immunization data in Michigan Care Improvement Registry -- which is the system for recording vaccine information -- it will be added to the doses administered on our dashboard.”

This would require the person who was vaccinated out-of-state to take their immunization record card to their health care provider and the provider would be able to add it to the MCIR. This can be done online in most cases. Michigan Medicine has instructions on how to upload the information online. Most health systems use the same software for their patient portals, so the instructions on Michigan Medicine’s vaccine FAQ should still apply to those that don’t have a U-M doctor.

The instructions can be read here.

The Vasolds said they are going to make sure their vaccinations are counted and urge other vaccinated snowbirds to do the same.


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