Vaccinations in Michigan are on the rise again; masks at school encouraged | Michigan News

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press

LANSING, Michigan (AP) – The weekly number of people in Michigan receiving a first injection of COVID-19 has increased for the third week in a row after steadily declining for two months.

The increase coincided with the spread of the delta variant – the most contagious coronavirus mutant to date – and a $ 5 million state competition designed to incentivize vaccination.

There were about 41,000 first-dose vaccinations last week, the highest number since the week of June 13-19. Fewer people received an initial dose in July than in June – around 192,000 compared to around 167,000 – but officials said on Wednesday vaccination rates are still lower in midsummer.

“The truth is that every day when a certain number of people get vaccinated, the remaining group of people is by definition more difficult to reach and convince than those who made the decision before”, Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association. of Michigan and co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission, said while helping to announce the last six winners of the $ 50,000 prize. “We have to work harder and harder to get a smaller and smaller number of people. ”

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The state health department, meanwhile, has recommended universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff and students, regardless of their immunization status – an expected step that aligns with the federal guidelines. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she won’t need masks at school, as she did last school year, instead leaving each district, charter academy and private school to decide.

The $ 50,000 winners were all vaccinated after the launch of the MI Shot to Win contest. They include three women and three men – a hospital cook from Port Huron, a real estate agent from West Bloomfield, the manager of a welding and manufacturing company in Kincheloe, a resident of Grand Rapids who works in the industry of construction and supply, a machinist from Ford Motor Co. in southern Lyon and a respiratory therapist from Grand Rapids.

The latter, Brianna Hrejsa, said she was hesitant because the vaccines have emergency use clearance from the Food and Drug Administration but not full approval. Pfizer and Moderna have requested full approval and a decision from Pfizer is expected shortly.

She said she did more research because she was in contact with patients and her partner was immunocompromised.

“I want to do my part to … help keep me safe, but also that of my partner, my patients and my community,” said Hrejsa, who plans to save most of the money, potentially for a down payment on a house, and to use some to pursue another degree. “I’m tired of being afraid of getting sick.”

Registration for the month-long vaccine lottery closed on Tuesday.

About 64% of residents aged 16 and older received at least one dose – the metric used by state officials to set the target of 70%. Children as young as 12 are eligible. About 54% of people 12 years of age and older are fully immunized.

Kerry Ebersole Singh, director of the commission that promotes vaccine efficacy and strives to overcome hesitation, noted that the next school year is approaching and many companies plan to return to office work in person after Christmas Day. Work. The panel intends to shed light on the stories of those infected, she said.

One of the $ 50,000 winners said he “had a really bad time” fighting COVID-19 last year and was on the fence because he had antibodies. His daughter constantly encouraged him to get the vaccine.

“It’s your family, it’s your friends who can make a difference in giving someone the information and getting them to shoot and protect themselves and their loved ones,” Ebersole Singh said.

About 46% of Michigan residents live in counties where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges anyone 2 years of age and older to wear masks in indoor public places, even if they are fully vaccinated. The state’s seven-day case average was 808 on Tuesday, up from 306 two weeks earlier, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The two-week infection rate was lower than all but six of the states.

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