Michigan's chief medical executive gets her COVID-19 vaccine, urges other health care workers to follow suit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), is urging other frontline health care workers to get their COVID-19 vaccination after receiving her vaccine at Henry Ford Hospital this evening.

“I have been honored to continue working in the emergency department during this pandemic, taking care of patients with COVID and other health conditions. The toll this has taken on health care workers both physically and mentally sometimes seems insurmountable, but now there is hope,” said Khaldun. “The arrival of this vaccine in Michigan is our way forward and signals that the end of this pandemic is near. I am getting this vaccine so I can continue to take care of patients in the emergency department, and so that I don’t spread it to other staff, patients, or have to stay out because I am ill. I commit to continuing to do whatever I can to fight this pandemic, on the front lines in the ER or supporting the state in my role as chief medical executive.”

Khaldun, who is also an emergency medicine physician at Henry Ford, received her vaccine along with other doctors, nurses and therapists from each of Henry Ford’s five hospitals. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer, was recently approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is being shipped to hospitals across the country, including here in Michigan. Michiganders can track the amount of vaccine received and doses provided on the state’s a COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer thanked Dr. Khaldun and all frontline healthcare workers for going above and beyond to save lives as they cared for the tens of thousands of residents who have fought the virus – and for being first-in-line for vaccinations.

“It’s crucial that our health care workers are among the first to get the safe and effective vaccine to protect them while they serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “I want to remind Michiganders that it will take some time for the vaccine to be widely distributed to everyone. That’s why it’s so important that we all do our part by masking up, practicing safe social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings where the virus can easily spread from person to person. Stay smart, and stay safe.”

MDHHS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. MDHHS has also obtained input from a stakeholder group of Michigan public health and health care leaders and reviewed correspondence from the public.

Phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities. 
  • Phase 1B includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services. 
  • Phase 1C includes individuals age 16 years or older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all individuals aged 16 years or older.  

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine. As additional information and resources become available, it will be posted to this site.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.   

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Dr. Joneigh Khaldun vaccination photo