Michigan releases more details about who gets COVID vaccine first

Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, shown here earlier this year with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, said the situation with the coronavirus vaccine is “continually evolving.” (Bridge file photo by Robin Erb)


As early as Tuesday, 84,825 units of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine are set to arrive at Michigan’s hospitals. It’s a tiny fraction of what will be needed to reach the state’s goal of 5.4 million Michiganders, or about 70 percent of the population, by the end of next year.

On Thursday, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended the vaccine’s approval, but it was still awaiting a final green light Friday afternoon.

In a call with reporters Friday afternoon, state health officials would say only that the first batches of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine would be distributed to 56 hospitals and 16 health departments. 

A second vaccine, by Massachusetts-based Moderna, is also up for FDA approval and is expected to be shipped within days.

Michigan Health officials would not detail which hospitals would receive those first batches, citing security concerns.

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However, Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System will get at least 4,875 vaccines next week for its workers, Dr. Adnan Munkarah, the system’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer, said Friday.

Five hospitals in the Henry Ford Health — in Detroit, Wyandotte, West Bloomfield, Jackson, and Macomb — each will receive a shipment of 975 units as soon as Tuesday, with the second dose following three weeks later, said Munkarah, who noted the vaccine will not be mandatory.

Vaccines in follow-up shipments are expected to follow weekly, said Munkarah.

Beaumont Hospital in Troy, part of the state’s largest hospital system, also is awaiting a vaccine shipment “of about 1,000,” in the coming days, spokesperson Mark Geary told Bridge Michigan.

Phase 1 of vaccine distribution is divided into three groups:

  • First: paid and unpaid people in health care settings and residents of long-term care facilities
  • Second: essential workers in critical industries
  • Third: those at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness and the elderly.

But the state’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, has been quick to note that plans depend on the quantities of vaccines that arrive.

“The situation is continuously evolving,” she said Friday.

Vaccine priority

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services set a goal of vaccinating 5.4 million Michiganders before the end of 2021. Before COVID vaccines are available to the public, health leaders say they will distribute limited supplies to curb the pandemic.  This is an abbreviated version of the state’s priority plan.


  • Emergency medical service providers, including medical first responders
  • General medical floor staff
  • Emergency departments
  • Intensive care units
  • Staff at skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric hospitals, homes for the aged, adult Foster care, and assisted living facilities
  • Residents of skilled nursing facility residents, psychiatric hospitals, homes for the aged, adult foster care, and assisted living facilities
  • Workers with direct patient contact in high-risk procedures such as dental care and those with direct patient contact in outpatient, urgent care, ambulatory care, and home health care.
  • Workers in indirect patient contact


  • K-12 school and child-care staff with direct contact with children
  • Certain workers in critical infrastructure fields.
  • Homeless shelters, corrections facilities, congregate childcare institutions and adult and child protective services
  • Workers with other unique skill sets, such as non-hospital laboratories and mortuary services.


  • Those age 65 years and older
  • Those 18-64 years with COPD, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, obesity or other conditions that puts them at high risk. (Pregnant women are currently not recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.)

Source: State of Michigan


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Sat, 12/12/2020 - 1:08am

I see the plan doesn't care much for the older and more vunerable people with pre existing conditions. Yep just throw away the old folks.

Sat, 12/12/2020 - 1:38pm

Michigan has 84,825 units of vaccine, 600,000 healthcare workers alone, 9,986,857 residents: vaccination to provide herd immunity could take years. Trump, please use the Defense Production Act!

james dickman
Sat, 12/12/2020 - 5:33pm

i am 72 over weight, type a blood how do i apply for vaccine >?

Math Sux
Sat, 12/12/2020 - 6:30pm

Call it what you will...1B, whatever. Truckers and mariners, who have worked long hours away from home, in some cases extending their shipping contract to over 1 year for many sailors, are at the same level as corrections facilities? Please.

If I was stuck away from home (or stuck AT home and not getting paid because I couldn't join my ship) and am in line for the vaccine with a homeless shelter?!?

Explain why I spend over half my life away from friends and family? I am old, ornery, and ticked off over this whole thing. How the heck do you think your Amazon *stuff* gets from China to the fulfillment center? Mariners and truck drivers, that's how.

R Donner
Sun, 12/13/2020 - 5:08pm

They can give mine to one of the mindless sheep.

Sean Stewart
Sun, 12/13/2020 - 7:23pm

Kind of screwed up if you ask me that people of 65 or older and people who have copd are the last to recieve the vaccine completely last, even after kids k though 12 when during this whole pandemic the most likely people to have problems stemming from covid were people who had underlying health issues and the elderly. That's Michigan's good ol governor proving she has no common sense again!

Mon, 12/14/2020 - 6:03pm

I think you misread it. It isn't kids K-12 getting the vaccine. It's the staff so that school can safely re-open. Children K-12 aren't even on the list at this point. Neither are healthy adults under 65.

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