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20 takeaways from Whitmer’s COO breaking down COVID vaccine distribution in Michigan

Governor’s chief operating officer speaks about COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Tricia Foster, the governor's chief operating officer and executive lead on the state’s operational response to containing COVID-19, speaks about vaccine distribution during a Jan. 13, 2021, briefing.
Tricia Foster, the governor's chief operating officer and executive lead on the state’s operational response to containing COVID-19, speaks about vaccine distribution during a Jan. 13, 2021, briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a heated topic in Michigan, with many residents confused about the process of getting appointments and state officials insisting they’re doing all they can to move quickly.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s chief operating officer and executive lead on the state’s operational response to containing COVID-19, Tricia Foster, spoke about vaccine distribution in the state.

READ: 13 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s COVID update Wednesday (Jan. 13)

Here are 20 takeaways from Foster’s comments:

  1. There are over 1,218 registered providers of the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan.
  2. There is currently not enough supply to allow every eligible Michigander to make an appointment to get the vaccine.
  3. The current goal is to get at least 70% of Michigan residents 16 and older vaccinated “as soon as possible.” That means 5.6 million residents.
  4. “In the best of circumstances, (this goal) will take considerable time,” Foster said.
  5. State officials claim they were originally told they would receive more than 300,000 vaccines per week, so they planned accordingly for that. They said that weekly number has been significantly reduced.
  6. Foster said Michigan has received only 60,000 Pfizer vaccines per week for the past few weeks, and those have been distributed to provides.
  7. “Our original plan was to vaccinate nearly 50,000 people per day, and that is impossible with the number of vaccines we are receiving each week,” Foster said.
  8. Every dose of the vaccine that Michigan has received has been delivered to a provider, and that provider has scheduled the dose to be administered, Foster said.
  9. “I want to be very clear: The state of Michigan is not sitting on doses of vaccine,” she said.
  10. Providers are working to make sure all vaccine doses are scheduled to be administered to a resident within a week of when they are received.
  11. Michigan has set a goal to use 90% of its current doses in seven days.
  12. Phase 1B was modified and started in Michigan, while phase 1A continues.
  13. Shots in arms for the last week went from 12,000 per day to over 33,000 per day.
  14. “As soon as we get the supply we need, we’ll begin moving closer to our 50,000 shots per day goal,” Foster said. “Collectively, we have the tools and resources. We only need the supply.”
  15. She said the state is “encouraged” that so many people are interested in getting vaccinated and “disappointed” that not all of those people can currently get the vaccine.
  16. “I’m just going to request a little grace and a little humility as we get ramped up,” Foster said. “(Health care workers) did exactly what we asked.”
  17. It takes anywhere between 18 and 28 minutes per person to administer the vaccine.
  18. “We took a different route,” Foster said. “We wanted to do it orderly. We wanted to have people sign up for shots. Because of that, it’s not instantaneous. It wasn’t going to be instantaneous anyway. It takes time.”
  19. The blue number on the graphic above indicates every single shot that has actually gone into someone’s arm. The yellow number is every shot that has either gone in an arm but hasn’t been reported or every shot that is scheduled to be administered. There can be a 24-hour delay in when shots are administered and when they are reported as having been administered, she said.
  20. The state has asked CVS and Walgreens to report updated vaccination numbers on a daily basis, instead of the required twice per week.

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