According to data released Monday from the CDC, Michigan now ranks 7th in percentage of COVID vaccines administered, coming in at 71.7 percent. Chuck Lippstreu, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, is tracking these developments for its members.
“We’re really thinking about this as two major issues,” he said. “The first issue is getting enough of the vaccine into Michigan to meet demand—at this time, there’s not enough vaccines to go around. We need more capacity, more volume of vaccines. It’s going to take some time to see momentum build in terms of getting enough vaccines for enough people to meet the demand.”
When there are enough vaccines for anyone who wants to receive them, MABA wants to make sure Michiganders are armed with the information they need to get the vaccine.
“There are a lot of questions about the logistics of getting people a vaccine—there aren’t questions about the safety or the effectiveness of this vaccine,” said Lippstreu. “The way we’re going to turn back this pandemic and get back to some semblance of normal is to get enough people the COVID vaccine.”
Last month, Gov. Whitmer announced appointments to the Protect Michigan Commission. Lippstreu will serve as the chair for the rural advisory work group—serving as a conduit for information as the vaccine becomes more widely available.
“The Michigan Agri-Business Association has taken a leadership role in that effort that will provide the governor’s office, MDHHS, and our state government with input from rural Michigan and agriculture to make sure that agribusiness employees, farmers, farmer workers and people in rural communities have an equitable opportunity to get the vaccine as soon as possible,” he said.
Currently, individuals 65 and older or is in a limited number of essential worker categories are the only ones eligible for a vaccine. Food and agricultural workers are not eligible. As the distribution network matures, Lippstreu said those workers will be next.
“The major problem facing the state right now is getting enough vaccines into our borders to get shots in arms as quickly as possible,” he said. “We’re advising all of our members to keep a close eye on the guidance from their local health department. The other thing people can do is continue to track the opportunity to sign up to be notified when you’re eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
MABA’s latest vaccine update can be found here.
Lippstreu talks about his expectations of the new Biden administration and the new Congress in terms of COVID relief in our full conversation in the player above.