Dr. Joneigh Khaldun stresses need for more vaccine and focus on equity in testimony to Congress
Highlights Michigan's aggressive vaccination effort in remote testimony
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), testified before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee about Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, federal needs, and the state’s work to expedite the administration of vaccines without compromising equity.
As of Monday, Feb. 1, Michigan has administered more than 1 million total of first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Michigan has prioritized operational efficiency and equity in its vaccination efforts and has climbed more than 20 slots in the past few weeks compared to other states as it relates to proportion of people vaccinated.
“Since the emergence of COVID-19 just over a year ago the world has eagerly awaited a vaccine that could help to end this unprecedented pandemic,” Khaldun said. “Now, with two safe and effective vaccines and additional vaccines on the horizon, Michigan is working to distribute the vaccine quickly, efficiently and equitably to residents across the state. Like many other states, Michigan’s single biggest challenge with the vaccine rollout has been the limited supply of vaccine available week to week and the lack of a national federal strategy until now. Despite this, Michigan has made significant strides in implementing our vaccination strategy.”
Khaldun outlined the comprehensive vaccination strategy the state has launched, which centers around the following ambitious but achievable goals:
- 70% of Michiganders age 16 and up vaccinated as quickly as possible.
- 90% of received vaccines are administered within 7 days.
- 95% of people get their second dose of vaccine within the expected time frame.
- No disparity exists in vaccination rates across racial and ethnic groups or by social vulnerability index.
- No one has to drive more than 20 minutes to reach a vaccination site.
Dr. Khaldun testified to the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee alongside physicians and public health experts from Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana and Colorado as part of a hearing entitled, “No Time to Lose: Solutions to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations in the States”.
“COVID-19 has wrought unimaginable death and destruction throughout the world. In the past 12 months, more than 2 million people have died from COVID-19, including more than 14,600 people in Michigan,” said Khaldun. “However, science has prevailed. We have two safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available today with another likely coming in the weeks ahead. While these vaccines were developed in less than a year, they were built upon decades of scientific research. To develop a vaccine, rigorously test it and bring it to market in less than a year is an incredible feat that should be celebrated. I am proud of the work of our state and local health departments and health care systems who have worked tirelessly to deliver vaccines while also fighting to bring down the curve. We must ensure every person in America that wants a vaccine can quickly and equitably receive one. We can end this pandemic, but it will require cooperation, hard work, transparency and dedication from each and every one of us.”
A copy of Dr. Khaldun’s full testimony is available on the MDHHS website.
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