State: About 71,000 in Michigan received virus vaccinations

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About 71,000 people have received the first of two rounds of coronavirus vaccinations in Michigan, where more than 483,000 virus cases have been confirmed.

Doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed to hospitals, local health departments and tribal health clinics. On Monday, the state announced that residents and staff at skilled nursing homes began receiving the Moderna vaccine.

“Everyone across the country wants these vaccines to be administered to people as quickly as possible,” Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun told reporters Tuesday. “If we get more vaccine, we will be getting it into people’s arms as quickly as we can. But we are limited right now, like every state, by how much we have allocated.”

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said it received 231,075 doses of both COVID-19 vaccines.

On Tuesday, Michigan confirmed another 3,414 virus cases and 193 deaths, including 105 deaths found during a review of records. That brings total cases in the state since the start of the pandemic to 483,922 and deaths to 12,282.

Currently, the state is recording about 279 cases per one million people, a number that has been declining for more than 38 days. That rate still is four times what was at the start of September, Khaldun said.

Khaldun also said the state recently averaged 107 deaths per day compared to 123 deaths per day a week earlier.

“What we are seeing in the data is not a cause to celebrate,” she added. “While Michiganders are doing a great job bringing our cases down, that progress is fragile. It only takes one gathering for it to spread through multiple households and their close contacts.”

On Dec. 14, workers at two Michigan hospitals were the first in the state to receive a vaccine for the virus.

“It will take some time for this vaccine to be widely distributed to everyone,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday.

As more vaccines are administered, following safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing is “more important than ever,” she told reporters.

“I’m urging our Michigan legislature to pass some public health protections,” Whitmer said. “Passing legislation that would require masks in public. This is a policy that has bipartisan support and would really improve compliance and assist law enforcement and help stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can reengage more sectors of our economy and stay safe.”

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