State health department provides update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Michigan

FDA panel endorses Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Virus Outbreak Britain Vaccine
Posted at 4:39 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 16:14:56-05

(WXYZ) — The state health department updated Michiganders Friday afternoon on where Michigan stands with vaccine distribution and how soon our most vulnerable could get the shot.

This comes just one day after an FDA advisory committee voted 17-4 to endorse the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine. The panel will meet later this month to discuss the Moderna vaccine. Both are reported to be 95 percent effective.

The MDHHS press conference was originally scheduled for 12:15 p.m. but has been moved to 3:15 p.m. Officials will give an update on the first vaccine shipment in the state.

Pfizer employees, outside the company’s largest manufacturing site in Portage, are ready to start the mission of a lifetime – getting the vaccines out to those to need them most, healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

Governor Whitmer says 84,000 Pfizer doses could be ready in Michigan as early as next week.

This, after an FDA advisory panel voted Thursday 17-4 with one abstention to recommend emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans 16 and older.

“We can act quickly, and we intend to. We understand the urgency of the situation," said Dr. Stephen Hahn, an FDA commissioner.

Pfizer’s vaccine is reported to be 95 percent effective, but the FDA panel does want more research and says warnings should go out for people who could be allergic to some of its ingredients after two health care workers in the UK had allergic reactions after getting the shot.

The FDA is expected to give full authorization soon. And if it does, Pfizer could start sending out it’s first 2.9 million doses within a day.

"These vaccines work, by preparing your body to fight the real virus if it comes into contact with it," said Michigan's top doctor Joneigh Khaldun.

For these Michigan Pfizer workers, who’ve been pulling extra shifts to get ready for the eventual vaccine distribution, the final green light can’t come soon enough.

"I have absolute confidence in it, and will be first to stand in line and put my family first in line," said one employee.

The first shipment, which will be limited, is expected to go to hospitals and local health departments in the state, including:

  • Beaumont Hospital in Troy
  • Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren
  • University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor

This is why many of them have been acquiring those special freezers to store the doses in.

It will still be months before people can walk into a CVS or Walgreens and get the vaccine.