Monday, May 10, 2021

Michigan, Alaska to Give All Adults COVID Vaccines Well Before Biden’s May 1 Pledge

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Michigan and Alaska are among a growing number of states to announce plans to expand access to coronavirus vaccines well before President Joe Biden‘s deadline to provide shots to all U.S. adults by May 1.

On Tuesday, Alaska became the first state to announce that anyone over the age of 16 in the state is now eligible to receive the vaccine.

“We want to get our economy back up and running. We want to get our society back up and running,” Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said on Tuesday. “We want to put this virus behind us—as far as possible, as soon as possible.”

So far, Alaska has fully vaccinated 16 percent of its population, which is the highest rate in the country, The New York Times reported.

During his Tuesday announcement, Dunleavy encouraged all “Alaskans that are thinking about” getting the vaccine to do so, adding that the state’s rollout “gives us the ability now in Alaska to far outpace other states,” the Times reported.

On Friday, Michigan joined the state by announcing that all residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine by April 5.

Individuals ages 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities will qualify starting March 22. Then, on March 24, a mass vaccination site will open at Detroit’s Ford Field to administer an additional 6,000 doses a day over the course of two months, the Associated Press reported.

“The safe COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family and others from the virus,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “It will help the country get back to normal and help the economy.”

Vaccine
On Friday, Michigan announced plans to open up vaccine eligibility to all adults age 16 and older by April 5. In this photo, Beaumont Health Care workers receive their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Southfield, Michigan on December 15, 2020.
JEFF KOWALSKY/Getty Images

Alongside Michigan and Alaska, Utah Governor Spencer Cox said Wednesday the state would allow anyone age 18 and older to get the vaccine starting on April 1.

Ten days later, the state will officially lift its mask mandate, and hopes to have 1.5 million doses of the vaccine administered by then.

Furthermore, officials in Minnesota and Florida have suggested that adults in those states will be able to receive the vaccine at some point in April, though they have not yet outlined a specific plan to do so, Forbes reported.

The announcements from each state comes as Biden pledged on Thursday to open vaccine access to all U.S. adults no later than May 1.

In his first public address since his inauguration 50 days ago, Biden said that he directed states, tribes and territories to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by that deadline. He added that his hope is to get the nation closer to “normal” by the Fourth of July.

“We’re going to go from the million shots a day that I promised in December, before I was sworn in, to beating our current pace of 2 million shots a day, outpacing the rest of the world,” Biden said on March 11.

“I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” he added, “and when you can find an opportunity, help your family, your friends, your neighbors get vaccinated as well.”

So far, 19 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 10 percent have been fully vaccinated. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country has administered 98 million doses of the shot.

Newsweek contacted the governors of Michigan and Alaska, as well as the White House for additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

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