COVID-19 vaccine is 'way out' of pandemic, Whitmer says in Wednesday press conference

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is encouraging continued mask use and says if residents continue to get vaccinated, that is the path to get the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a Wednesday morning press conference, Whitmer thanked residents for getting vaccinated so far as the state crossed its first benchmark in the ‘Mi Vacc to Normal’ challenge with 55% of all residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The governor did not make any new announcements or changes to the epidemic order but said now that 55% have been vaccinated, in-office work can resume as early as Monday, May 24th.

The state's coronavirus situation is improving gradually with 55% of the state registering their first shot of the vaccine. The state still has its work cut out for itself as vaccine rates continue to decline with another 15% of the adult population needing to get the shot before mask restrictions lift.

As protection has grown, the rate of decreases of new cases in the state has dropped in almost every county. 

Only five counties are still registering an increase in COVID-19, including just one in the lower peninsula. Daily case rates are also still falling. Michigan remains the state with the highest infection rate in the country after its sudden third surge that started falling last month.

It's unclear if the four-milestone vaccine plan laid out by Gretchen Whitmer will be amended. 

RELATED: Michigan's COVID-19 vaccine rate hits 55%, in-office work could resume in two weeks

Some argue that enough of the state has already gotten immunity from the vaccine and previous infection. Others are worried hesitancy about getting the shot will slow down any effort to reach 70%.

However, experts in the field and in research agree the idea of setting goals like those in the Mi Vacc to Normal plan offers an incentive to get vaccinated and gives the state a better idea about where it stands with regards to immunity.

While the state has already confirmed it doesn't plan to include kids getting vaccinated in its Mi Vacc to Normal plan, young people will be eligible for the vaccine soon. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meeting today to consider whether to recommend the Pfizer vaccine to adolescents aged 12-15. The Food and Drug Administration has already authorized the use. Studies show it's 100% effective at preventing illness linked to coronavirus in kids.

FOX 2 spoke with one nurse yesterday whose daughter is prepared to get the shot, saying she was proud to see her become part of the vaccine conversation.