Northern Michigan Paces The State on Vaccination Rates
Michigan hit a major milestone over the weekend. Half of Michiganders, over the age of 16, have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Northern Michigan specifically leads the way with nearly 55% of residents receiving at least their first dose.
“Highly motivated people, that were really motivated to get immunized, we have been able to provide access and provide immunizations to all those people,” said Joshua Meyerson, medical director of Benzie-Leelanau Health Department, Northwest Michigan Health Department and District Health Department #4.
The numbers are a bit striking, half the state has at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine but when broken into regions by Michigan …Department of Health and Human Services, it is apparent Northern Michigan is well above the state average. Region 7 leads the way also with more than 41% fully vaccinated.
Region 6, along Lake Michigan, isn’t far behind with more than 36% fully vaccinated. No region is above 37%.
Some of the reasons are unknown but medical experts say a lower population, collaboration among health providers and an older community, one that has been eligible for longer, may play the biggest roles.
“A county that has a higher proportion of youths is going to just, by that alone, is going to have a slightly lower rate,” said Meyerson.
As the state climbs to its 70% herd immunity goal, can Northern Michigan stay ahead of the pack? More work will be needed.
Why is this important? Governor Gretchen Whitmer tied the final steps of re-opening the state to vaccination rates. Unlike last summer, the results have to be statewide, successful regions won’t move ahead on their own.
“Although certainly I think there’s something to be said for looking at your region and being able to make some regional decisions,” said Meyerson, “Knowing that we are all in this together, we do need to look at what’s going on in our neighboring regions, in order to make a decision that’s going to be the best for all of us.”