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State of Michigan hosting series of virtual town halls about COVID-19 vaccine Faith-based community discussion kicks off series in January

January 18, 2021
Contact: Angela Minicuci, APR, 248-765-0558

LANSING, Mich. - To help Michigan residents make an informed decision to vaccinate when vaccine becomes available to them, the State of Michigan is hosting a series of community town halls.

The first virtual discussion is 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21, focused on the faith-based community. Residents will have the opportunity to join the discussion with multiple faith-based and health leaders to learn about the safety, efficacy and importance of the COVID-19 vaccines for safely reopening Michigan.

"We recognize that residents have questions about the vaccine and that the faith-based community is uniquely positioned to help provide answers and guidance," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). "I'm grateful for the support of our faith-based partners in engaging in these important conversations. We want people to be able to have an opportunity to have their questions answered and get the facts about these safe and effective vaccines."

Joining Dr. Khaldun, the following panelists will be part of the Jan. 21 discussion, moderated by Dion Williams, director of Faith Based & Urban Affairs for Governor Gretchen Whitmer:

  • Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi, Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights
  • Rabbi Mark Miller, Congregation Beth El in Bloomfield Hills
  • Bishop Charles Ellis III, Senior Pastor of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit
  • Dr. Herbert Smitherman, MD, Detroit Receiving Hospital
  • Reverend Lydia Bucklin, Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan

In the coming months, Michigan will also host town halls for the Black and Brown community and the general public, in partnership with public health and community leaders. The town halls will be live streamed at  

Michigan's distribution of the vaccine continues in a phased approach, with an emphasis on ensuring the continuing functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community, and protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Residents will need to continue preventative measures such as wearing a mask properly, social distancing, and hand washing to reduce the spread of COVID in our communities even as the vaccine is being administered.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit


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