Protect Michigan Commission hosts first meeting, highlights state's vaccine strategy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

January 29, 2021 

Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112 

 

Protect Michigan Commission hosts first meeting, highlights state’s vaccine strategy  

Bipartisan commission focused on equitable distribution of safe, effective vaccine to save lives, strengthen economy 

 

LANSING, Mich. – The Protect Michigan Commission, comprised of a diverse group of leaders from across the state charged with helping raise awareness about the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, hosted its first meeting today and unveiled Michigan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy. 

 

Established by Executive Order 2020-193, the commission serves as an advisory group to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

“The work of the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission will help Michigan reach its goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day and help ensure all Michiganders have a plan to get their vaccine once it is their turn,” said Governor Whitmer. “The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is our way forward out of this pandemic and will allow us to return to a sense of normalcy and a strong Michigan economy.” 

 

“As we work to ensure that every Michigander who wants a vaccine will get one, the Protect Michigan Commission will play a vital role in reaching out to Michiganders in every part of our state,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “The best thing we can do right now is to work together to ensure that Michiganders, especially those with questions and those hardest hit during the pandemic, have a plan to get vaccinated. Our clearest path to healthy communities, a growing economy, and day-to-day activities free from fear is through the COVID-19 vaccine.” 

 

The governor has selected Kerry Ebersole Singh to lead the Protect Michigan Commission and assist in mobilizing the ongoing efforts of the commission.   

 

“Today marked the start of the commission’s mission to protect the health and safety of Michiganders by ensuring all residents who want a COVID-19 vaccine are able to get one,” said Ebersole Singh. “The expertise of all involved in the commission will help eradicate the spread of the virus in our state.” 

 

During today’s meeting, the commission unveiled the state’s strategy to get 70% of Michiganders age 16 and older vaccinated as quickly as possible. The strategy is being guided by the following guiding principles: 

  • All Michiganders have equitable access to vaccines.  
  • Vaccine planning and distribution is inclusive and actively engages state and local government, public and private partners; and draws upon the experience and expertise of leaders from historically marginalized populations.  
  • Communications are transparent, accurate, and frequent public communications to build public trust.  
  • Data is used to promote equity, track progress and guide decision making. 
  • Resource stewardship, efficiency, and continuous quality improvement drive strategic implementation. 

 

“I am proud to co-chair the Protect Michigan Commission as we work collaboratively to get 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older vaccinated with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “The strategy announced today clarifies our state’s goals and strategies and prioritizes equity, efficiency, and transparency. I am proud of the work of our partners across the state in helping us reach our goal. Everyone has a role to play in ending this pandemic.” 

 

The Protect Michigan Commission will work to protect the health and safety of Michigan residents by educating communities about the effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine to eradicate the spread of the coronavirus.  

 

To achieve this, the bi-partisan commission will develop an outreach strategy to identify and work with communities around the state where there is hesitancy to the vaccine. The commission will complete its work and submit a report to Governor Whitmer by Dec. 31, 2021. 

 

Last month, Congress appropriated $90 million in additional resources for vaccine distribution in Michigan through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Governor Whitmer's MI COVID Recovery plan will use this federal funding to ramp up vaccine distribution in Michigan and bring us closer to our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day. This funding will help provide financial support to local health departments for vaccine administration costs, including staff augmentation, as well as provide equipment and supplies. Michigan will also receive $575 million to expand COVID testing, tracing, and lab capacity in Michigan. 

 

More information about the commission, including a list of members, is available at MDHHS - Protect Michigan Commission

 

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

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