COVID booster rollout for vulnerable groups begins in Michigan

Third dose can be given to vulnerable groups as long as it has been at least 6 months since last dose

Booster shots have not been approved yet for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but that could be coming soon.

DETROIT – The rollout of Pfizer’s COVID booster shots to help increase protection against the worst effects of coronavirus began Friday in Michigan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized a third dose for people 65 and up, anyone in long-term care facilities, with medical conditions and for those working some high-risk jobs.

But health officials are still stressing that more needs to be done to end the pandemic.

Progress is being made in the United States. As of Saturday, average daily cases reached a low not seen since early August, but the battle isn’t over.

“Funeral homes are out of storage. Our hospitals are out of storage,” said coroner Dotti Owens. “It’s just become quite a mess.”

According to the CDC, about 64% of eligible people in the United States are fully vaccinated. While some Americans have already had a third shot, more than 70 million eligible Americans have yet to have gotten their first dose.

In Michigan, nearly 59% of eligible residents are considered fully vaccinated.

“We’re seeing people not getting vaccinated even though vaccines will save their life,” said Dr. Leana Wen. “It’s really unfortunate at this point because the data is so clear, the evidence is so overwhelming.”

Health officials said getting a potentially life-saving shot should not be a political issue.

“This isn’t Democrat or Republican. This is life and death and when have we gotten to the point where we are so determined to either be a red state or a blue state, versus saving lives,” Owens said.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the booster shots will help, but they won’t give the U.S. the upper hand on the virus.

“Infections among the unvaccinated continue to fuel this pandemic, resulting in a rising number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Walenskey said.

Booster shots have not been approved yet for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but that could be coming soon.

Federal authorities have not authorized the mixing of vaccines.

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About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.