4/5/21 – Another group now eligible for the vaccine

Jake May / Mlive.com

(Mlive) – Under federal guidance, Michigan will begin vaccinating all Michigan residents age 16 and up beginning Monday, April 5.

Eligibility for Michiganders age 16 and up with disabilities or medical conditions has been open since March 22.

At this time, Michigan has administered more than 4.4 million doses of vaccine. As of March 31, 34.5% of Michigan residents age 16 and older had received their first dose, and 20.7% had completed all doses. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses weeks apart, while Johnson & Johnson requires one.

Now that more Michiganders are eligible, here’s what you need to know:

1. All Michiganders age 16 and up are eligible on April 5, but MDHHS still recommends prioritizing those at a higher risk

Providers are encouraged to schedule appointments and allocate vaccinations based on highest risk, per a release issued by Michigan on March 12. The state characterizes higher risk as being an older individual, a frontline worker or an essential worker.

Vaccinations of the remainder of the population not previously eligible depends on vaccine apply, according to the MDHHS website.

2. Coronavirus vaccinations are provided at no cost

Some vaccination clinics are recommending patients bring their insurance card. However, if you do not have insurance, it’s OK.

According to the MDHHS website, those with insurance will have their insurance charged for an administrative fee. If a person does not have insurance, this administrative fee will be charged to Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider’s Relief Fund, not the person.

No individual will be personally charged for a coronavirus vaccine.

3. How to find an appointment

MDHHS recommends checking the website of your local health department or hospital to check out their appointment process. A map of local health departments can be found here.

The department also recommends signing up with chain pharmacies like MeijerRite AidKroger and Walmart for those in mid, central and northern Michigan. Those in the Upper Peninsula should check in with Snyders Drug Stores.

Michiganders who need assistance navigating the scheduling process or who do not have access to internet can call the COVID-19 hotline at (888) 535-6136 and press one. This hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

4. How to prepare for your appointment

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail recommends wearing clothes that make your upper arm easily accessible, like a short sleeve shirt with a jacket over. Bring photo identification to your appointment as well.

Additionally, be sure you have not had another vaccine two weeks prior to your coronavirus vaccine. If you are getting a two dose coronavirus vaccine, do not plan to get a different vaccine in between your coronavirus doses, Vail said. In addition, do not plan to get a vaccine until two weeks after your final dose.

5. Those over the age of 16 but under 18 will only be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were approved for emergency use under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, Pfizer was approved for individuals 16 and older, while Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson were approved for those age 18 and older.

6. Younger Michiganders can’t be vaccinated yet, but Pfizer and Moderna are working on it

Moderna and Pfizer have started studying the vaccine for children age 6 months to 11 years old. Both have also enrolled for studies of children age 12 and up.

Study results for children age 12 and up are expected this summer, while study results of younger children may take until early 2022.

7. Fully vaccinated individuals should still wear a mask in public, but can gather with others who are fully vaccinated

Fully vaccinated means waiting two weeks since receiving your single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks since getting your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who are also fully vaccinated without wearing a mask or social distancing, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is not yet clear if fully vaccinated individuals can catch and transmit COVID-19. The CDC recommends wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and social distancing in public even if an individual is fully vaccinated.