Khaldun testifies to Congress on state's vaccination efforts and needs

Posted at 3:32 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 15:32:54-05

LANSING, Mich. — Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, testified before Congress about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, federal needs and work to expedite the administration of vaccines without compromising integrity.

As of Monday evening, more than one million total first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been administered, according to MDHHS.

The state says it has climbed more than 20 slots in the past few weeks compared to other states in regard to the proportion of people vaccinated.

“Since the emergence of COVID-19 just over a year ago the world has eagerly awaited a vaccine that could help to end this unprecedented pandemic,” Khaldun said. “Now, with two safe and effective vaccines and additional vaccines on the horizon, Michigan is working to distribute the vaccine quickly, efficiently and equitably to residents across the state. Like many other states, Michigan’s single biggest challenge with the vaccine rollout has been the limited supply of vaccine available week to week and the lack of a national federal strategy until now. Despite this, Michigan has made significant strides in implementing our vaccination strategy.”

During her testimony, Khaldun outlined the state’s vaccination strategy, which centers around the following goals:

  • 70% of Michiganders age 16 and up vaccinated as quickly as possible
  • 90% of received vaccines are administered within seven days
  • 95% of people get their second dose of vaccine within the expected time frame
  • No disparity exists in vaccination rates across racial and ethnic groups or by social vulnerability index
  • No one has to drive more than 20 minutes to reach a vaccination site.

Khaldun testified to the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee alongside physicians and public health experts from Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana and Colorado\.

“COVID-19 has wrought unimaginable death and destruction throughout the world,” Khaldun said. “In the past 12 months, more than two million people have died from COVID-19, including more than 14,600 people in Michigan. However, science has prevailed. We have two safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available today with another likely coming in the weeks ahead. While these vaccines were developed in less than a year, they were built upon decades of scientific research. To develop a vaccine, rigorously test it and bring it to market in less than a year is an incredible feat that should be celebrated.”

Read Khaldun’s full testimony here.