Michigan is expanding vaccine eligibility this month to include residents ages 50-64 and caregivers of people with disabilities.
The state has just over 2 million residents in that age group, according to the US Census Bureau. About 13% have already been vaccinated because they qualified through their jobs as essential workers.
Michiganns 50 and Over Will Soon Be Eligible for Coronavirus Vaccine
Groups currently eligible to be vaccinated statewide include healthcare workers, long-term care workers and residents, first responders, correctional workers, school and child care personnel, personnel in group care facilities, workers mortuary service workers, workers in agricultural and food processing settings, and residents 65 and older.
Here’s what people need to know about expansion.
1. Beginning Monday, March 8, eligibility is extended to individuals ages 50-64 with “pre-existing conditions, disabilities, and other medical vulnerabilities.”
That group will have a two-week head start with healthy people ages 50 to 64.
In defining “disability,” the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers individuals with a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits one or more major life activities,” such as eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, bending over, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
Pre-existing conditions include qualifying for vaccination as of March 8:
- Cerebrovascular disease;
- Chronic kidney disease;
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
- Cystic fibrosis;
- Pulmonary fibrosis;
- Down’s Syndrome;
- Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies;
- High blood pressure;
- Weakened immune system from transplantation, HIV, or use of corticosteroids or other medications that weaken the immune system;
- Liver disease;
- Neurological conditions such as dementia;
- Obesity or overweight, defined as a body mass index greater than 25;
- Sickle-cell anaemia;
- Type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus;
2. Also beginning March 8, caregivers of people with disabilities are eligible for vaccination.
Family members of the caregiver and guardians 16 and older of children with special health care needs can get vaccinated starting Monday.
Special health care needs include “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and / or use of specialized services or programs,” according to MDHHS. “The condition can be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations on performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations on a major life activity.”
3. Proof of eligibility may vary depending on the vaccine provider.
The MDHHS does not specify what documentation is needed for people ages 50 to 64 with pre-existing conditions and people caring for children with special needs. That will depend on the provider of the vaccine.
“We will need evidence. We hear that most places will require some type of testing, ”said John Foren, a spokesman for Sparrow Health in Lansing.
Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids said they will rely on the information provided on the individuals’ registration forms. “We ask everyone to provide complete and accurate information on any underlying medical conditions that may or may not make them eligible for vaccination at this time,” said a statement from Spectrum Health.
4. On March 22, all residents age 50 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccination.
Starting Monday, March 22, anyone age 50 and older is eligible for a vaccine, and vaccinations will continue for those who were previously eligible as well.
However, eligibility does not guarantee immediate access – at this point, demand for vaccines continues to outpace supply. However, President Biden has stated that the United States will have produced enough vaccines for all adults by the end of May.
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5. Register for an appointment.
People eligible for a vaccine are encouraged to sign up for waiting lists with their local health department, as well as with their local hospitals. The Meijer and Rite-Aid and Cardinal Health pharmacies in the upper peninsula also offer vaccines.
Here is a link to contact information for local health departments, as well as links to the Meijer and Rite-Aid sites.
Residents who do not have internet access or need help navigating the vaccine scheduling process can call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 (press 1) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. M. At 5 p. M. Saturdays and Sundays at 8 a.m. M. at 1 pm
6. COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no cost to patients.
“You will not be charged a fee for the vaccine, regardless of whether you have health insurance coverage or not,” MDHHS says on its website. “If you have insurance coverage, the vaccine provider may charge your insurance an administrative fee, but YOU will not have to pay anything. (If you are uninsured, this fee will come from the Health Resources and Services Administration Provider Assistance Fund, NOT from you.) “
7. People cannot choose which of the three vaccines they will receive.
“While supplies are in short supply, it is unlikely that you will be able to choose which vaccine you will receive from your medical provider,” says the MDHHS website. “You must not wait; you should take whatever vaccine is available. The CDC does not prefer one vaccine over another. “
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. If you receive the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose should be 21 days after the first dose and the second dose of Moderna vaccine should be 28 days after the first. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose to develop the best immune response.
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