Michigan hospital workers first to get COVID-19 vaccines in state

The first COVID-19 was approved for emergency use authorization last week and now the first doses are being administered across the county. In Michigan, the University of Michigan Medicine and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids were the first to give vaccines.

Over the weekend, the semi-trucks rolled out of the Pfizer facility in Portage after the vaccine was developed in record time. 

To date, 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since January, including 10,752 in Michigan.

Front line health care professionals, essential workers, and nursing home residents will be the first to get the vaccine. In Wayne County, those people are all considered to be in phase one of the vaccination process. 

"Phase two becomes everybody else. So anybody who is not included in phase one-A is going to be included in phase two. We're expecting more vaccines and we're expecting that this is where the mass vaccination efforts and the provider efforts are going to be happening," said Dr. Mouhammed Hammani from Wayne County Department of Health.

Phase two won't happen until the spring of 2021 and by the end of next year, there will be plenty of vaccines for every American.

"We have enough vaccines already purchased to ensure we can meet our goal of vaccinating every American who wants it by the end of the second quarter of 2021," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Axar.

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine could receive emergency approval from the FDA as soon as next week. Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca vaccinations are expected to follow.

Wayne County has been deemed a hub and has the freezer capacity to store 50,000 doses. Pfizer's vaccine must be stored at negative 70 degrees Celsius.

"By a hub, that means that we will have the ability to administer the vaccine but we will also have the ability to distribute the vaccine and store it for those who cannot store it," Dr. Hammani said

The Department of Health and Human Services says the goal is to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of the year.

Wayne County health officials say they will be taking things slowly, at least at first.

MIchigan healthcare workers started receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, December 14.

"We are expecting a vaccination capacity of a hundred doses per day. We also are very cognizant that this vaccine might have some uncomfortable side effects so don't want to vaccinate everybody from every single entity at once," Dr. Hammani said.

Pfizer plans to get doses out as fast as they can be produced and on Sunday alone, 3 million doses were shipped.