ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Michigan Medicine is moving into the next priority phase of vaccinations, with plans to begin vaccinating established patients who are age 65 or older against COVID-19 during the week of Jan. 11.
On Monday, Michigan Medicine patients will begin receiving invitations to schedule appointments. The invites will go to patients 65 and older who are current Michigan Medicine patients under the care of a Michigan Medicine primary care provider, or who have had a visit with any Michigan Medicine provider in the last two years. Michigan Medicine’s vaccine locations are not open to the public and require an appointment.
Available appointments each week will depend on vaccine supply, but Michigan Medicine hopes to offer vaccination to all patients in this group who would like to be vaccinated in the next two to three months. Patients of other systems should be notified and have access to the vaccine through their providers.
“Michigan Medicine will move forward into this phase in partnership with the state, local health departments, and other health systems in our region to work towards vaccinating our community as quickly as possible,” said Sandro Cinti, M.D., who is one of the leaders of Michigan Medicine’s vaccine distribution effort and professor of infectious diseases in the U-M Medical School. “We would not have been successful in nearly completing Phase 1A without the collaborative partnership with all of these groups including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.”
More than 200,000 patients from communities across the state fall into the 65 and older category. The invitations will go out in batches, depending on the availability of vaccine.
Michigan Medicine has received 21,700 total doses of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech vaccine so far and has vaccinated 13,863 physicians, employees and healthcare students who were in the Phase 1A category, which was defined based on state and federal guidelines. Thousands of appointments are already scheduled in the days ahead, which, along with second doses, will use up much of that current vaccine supply.
Each week, Michigan Medicine administers more than 90 percent of its vaccine supply.
Additional doses of vaccines are expected next week, but the exact number is not yet available. Depending on supply, Michigan Medicine could boost volume to an average of 3,400 vaccinations daily, operating several locations seven days a week, including one at Michigan Stadium. Additional locations are being planned to expand capacity with enough available vaccine.
“This is a major milestone in our effort to fight the COVID-19 virus,” said Cinti.
“We are delighted we can offer this lifesaving vaccine to vulnerable patients. Our best tactic to combat this pandemic is getting this safe, effective vaccine to as many people as soon as we can. In so doing, we are also supporting vaccination efforts for communities across the state.”
Michigan Medicine also has a robust community outreach and education effort underway, including a significant focus on reaching communities of color. These efforts include a free virtual town hall Jan. 16, “COVID-19 and the African American Community.”
“It is crucial that we engage everyone in open conversation about the safety and efficacy of this vaccine, but especially to those communities of color that have long-standing concerns and mistrust because of past vaccination experiences,” said Tony Denton, senior vice-president and chief operating officer for University of Michigan Health System, who is leading the community outreach and education effort.
“We acknowledge that these concerns exist and want to remove any barriers and provide factual information to ensure equitable and ethical delivery of health care across all populations. We plan to invite and engage communities of color in open discussion to address fears, reviewing the science of clinical trials and building trust for individuals to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. This is one of the most important public health efforts of our lifetimes. We aim to make a true difference in addressing equitable access.”
Vaccinating more than 200,000 patients in this 65 and older age group could take two to three months, and Cinti stressed that the ability to vaccinate depends on how much supply is available.
Michigan Medicine’s established, eligible patients will be contacted through the MyUofMHealth patient portal or through the mail to invite them to schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
“Our healthcare teams have worked tirelessly to care for all of our patients throughout this pandemic, and every shot in the arm makes our community safer,” Cinti said. “However, everyone still needs to remain vigilant because this fight against COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. We have millions more to vaccinate. We still need people to wear masks, practice social distancing, stay home if you can and wash your hands.”
Because of potential limitations in vaccine supply, Michigan Medicine is coordinating a phased approach of priority groups to offer the vaccine based on state and federal guidelines. Michigan Medicine is following guidance issued Wednesday by the state of Michigan that vaccinations can be given to those that fall in the Phase 1B category beginning Monday, Jan. 11. Phase 1B includes frontline essential workers in critical infrastructure in addition to people 65 and older.
Michigan Medicine is responsible for vaccinating the entire University of Michigan community, which stretches over three campuses: Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint.
Michigan Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutics Taskforce identifies those to be vaccinated based on guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). MDHHS follows Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a CDC advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States.
- For the latest information on Michigan Medicine plans and policies, visit our FAQ page that is updated frequently.
About Michigan Medicine: At Michigan Medicine, we advance health to serve Michigan and the world. We pursue excellence every day in our three hospitals, 125 clinics and home care operations that handle more than 2.3 million outpatient visits a year, as well as educate the next generation of physicians, health professionals and scientists in our U-M Medical School.
Michigan Medicine includes the top ranked U-M Medical School and the University of Michigan Health System, which includes the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, University Hospital, the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and the Rogel Cancer Center. Michigan Medicine’s adult hospitals were ranked no. 11 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2019-20 and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was the only children’s hospital in Michigan nationally ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties analyzed by U.S. News and World Report for 2019-20. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation's biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $500 million.
More information is available at www.michiganmedicine.org