Michigan has reached a COVID-19 vaccination benchmark that will soon allow people to return to the office in person, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer acknowledges the next target will be more difficult to hit.
Whitmer announced Wednesday 55 percent of the state’s eligible population has gotten at least one shot.
“Every day, we’re getting closer to putting this pandemic behind us,” she said. “The way to get there is to vaccinate as many Michiganders who are eligible as quickly as possible.”
The 55 percent mark achieved this week clears the way for a Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration order allowing a return to office work. That go-ahead should come out the last week in May.
But Whitmer acknowledges hitting the next benchmark of 60 percent will be more difficult as the state grapples with vaccine suspicion and hesitance. She’s hoping the prospect of lifting more restrictions will be persuasive.
“Step Two occurs two weeks after we get to 60 percent of Michiganders 16 and up with their first shot,” she said. “What happens? We lift the curfew on restaurants and bars. We’ll increase capacity at exercise facilities and gyms, and increased indoor capacity limits at sports stadiums, conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes.”
The other challenge is building trust among groups of people who are suspicious or hesitant to get vaccinated. She asked primary care doctors who have one-on-one relationships with patients to sign up to administer vaccines.
Whitmer said another next step is to get children 12-to-15-years-old vaccinated now that the US Food and Drug Administration has given its approval.