LANSING — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive directive to state departments and agencies to expedite ordering of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.
The directive is also to expedite distribution of the vaccine to ensure that students could continue in-person learning in a safe environment.
“Today, we’re taking action to keep our kids safe from COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “The Michigan-made Pfizer vaccine is safe, effective, free and expected to be approved for Michiganders between 5 and 11-years-old. This is a game-changer for our kids that will protect them as they continue to learn in-person in the classroom this school year, participate in extracurricular activities or see friends and family this holiday season. My directive today ensures equitable, expedited distribution of the vaccines. Parents should sign up to protect their kids.”
Based on data provided by Pfizer, the vaccine was shown to be 91 percent effective during the trial at preventing symptomatic disease from COVID-19 in the age group.
“Being able to vaccinate children ages 5-11 with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine brings us hope and also an opportunity to urge all eligible Michiganders to get vaccinated,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the MDHHS chief medical executive said. “We know these vaccines work. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic and now 825,000 children in our state are eligible to be protected.”
The executive directive expedites the administration of pediatric vaccinations by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to take all appropriate action to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is available to all children in Michigan as soon as they are eligible to receive the vaccine; encouraging all pediatric vaccination providers to enroll as COVID-19 vaccine providers, including by educating pediatricians and family practice providers about eligibility, barriers to access and the importance of pediatric vaccination; promoting vaccination in settings that facilitate ease of access, including by working with child and adolescent health centers serving grades K-12, federal qualified health centers, pharmacies, local health departments and community clinics and promoting equity in accessibility of pediatric vaccination, considering barriers to access presented by geography, income, age, race, ethnicity, primary language or disability status.
This is a game-changer for our kids that will protect them as they continue to learn in-person in the classroom this school year, participate in extracurricular activities, or see friends and family this holiday season. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer
The directive also requires the state of Michigan to regularly report the proportion of children ages 5 to 11 who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
To date, nearly 69 percent of Michiganders 16-years-old and older and 66.9 percent of Michiganders 12-years-old or older have received at least their first dose of one of the three vaccines.
“Throughout the pandemic we have taken every possible measure to keep Michiganders safe,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “Being able to protect our children is a critical and exciting development in our efforts to end this pandemic. It is important that children get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Since the beginning of the year, unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 93.1 percent of COVID cases, 90.7 percent of hospitalizations and 90.5 percent of deaths.
The state has pre-ordered 287,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccine to ensure a supply is quickly available when approval is granted.
Residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit www.michigan.gov/covidvaccine.