Michigan hospitals push forward with vaccine's 2nd dose amid skepticism about treatment

Another series of COVID-19 benchmarks will be set this week when Beaumont Hospital begins administering the first of its second round of doses for the coronavirus vaccine to its health care workers. 

Already vaccinating 1,600 people a day with an increased capacity for administering more than 3,200 doses, one of Michigan's largest hospital chains is strongly encouraging its workers to get the injection. But fears of a post-holiday surge remain while skepticism of the treatment is strong even among health care workers.

This coming as the state bursts through another grim threshold on Monday when the state reported its 500,000 positive cases of COVID-19. So far, more than 12,500 residents have also died from the virus.

"Beaumont is up to where it can vaccinate 3,200 people a day. That's a lot. That's a lot of people. The more people that get vaccinated, the better we're going to be about keeping this under control," said Matthew Sims, director of infectious disease research.

At Henry Ford Hospital, 13,728 doses have been administered.

So far, 99,040 doses of the 378,925 sent to Michigan have been administered, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. It's among the lowest rates in the country.

There has been national criticism about the country's rollout of its vaccine since the early days of administering injections. Supply chain disruptions and bad actors tainting doses haven't made it distributing the vaccine any easier.

And then there are reports of many health care workers refusing to take the vaccine. Surveys from late last year show that only a little more than half of Americans would be interested in getting vaccinated.

That includes many in health care. A spokesperson with Wayne County said 600 of 1,600 first responders declined to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

That's might be a problem in Michigan, which is aiming to inoculate 70% of its adult population by the fall. 

"It's a difficult message but there's a lot of fear," Sims said. "While you want to vaccinate medical workers first, there's a point where if frontline workers are not coming to get it, it's time to move on."

It will be around mid-spring when the vaccine becomes available to people who aren't working in health care and won't be among the most threatened demographics. 

There are known side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA says swelling around the injection site, tiredness, fever or headache, as well as muscular or joint pain. There have also been incidents of a fever reported after the second dose that's more severe than after the first dose.

However, side effects after receiving a vaccine are normal and health officials have stressed there is nothing to be concerned about getting vaccinated.

Beaumont will host a press conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the first series of second doses that will be administered.