The state of Michigan has implemented several initiatives to improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine and ensure equity when it comes to protection from the virus.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services posted race data on the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard on Feb. 23. This is to help track the effects of those efforts and to provide additional information about vaccinations in the state.
“Ensuring those who are most vulnerable are protected by the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a high priority for Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus,and improving the race and ethnicity data being collected for vaccinations is critical for ensuring the equitable administration of the vaccine. We will use this data to continue to drive our strategy towards making sure everyone has equitable access to the vaccines.”
The state health department is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of the vaccine for adults. According to data reported as of Feb. 22, 1,252,497 Michiganders have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Only 56 percent of those residents have race data recorded. The MDHHS said it is working to improve that number.
This information can now be entered into the Michigan Care Improvement Registry. The state is asking immunization providers across the state to submit race data for all vaccines administered.
“We urge Michiganders to fill out race data questions on forms when they get their vaccine,” Khaldun said. “Knowing this information helps guide the state’s strategy and allows us to address any gaps as we move forward getting Michiganders protected from the virus.”
The state also recently launched a COVID-19 vaccination strategy to get 70 percent of residents age 16 and older vaccinated.