State Rep. Mary Whiteford today expressed disappointment and frustration with the Whitmer administration’s failed rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan – which CDC data shows has the sixth lowest per-capita distribution rate in the country – and called on the governor to expedite vaccinations and release a public schedule.
Whiteford, of Casco Township, said data indicates hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses are sitting unused in coolers at hospitals, pharmacies and health departments across the state.
“Vaccine distribution is the single most important move to reopen Michigan and allow people to safely resume normalcy,” said Whiteford, a registered nurse. “The governor celebrated as Pfizer, a Michigan company, led the nation in producing the vaccine. Now, her administration is botching the rollout. It’s shameful.
“The governor has shut down large portions of our local economies and stated things will open up once the vaccine is available. Now, a vaccine is available, but she isn’t doing her due diligence to expedite the rollout.”
According to the state’s vaccination report, Michigan had administered just 140,245 doses of the vaccine as of Jan. 4, three weeks after national vaccine distribution began. The same report indicates more than 517,000 doses of the vaccine have been distributed. To make matters worse, media reports indicate the state has underreported the number of doses it has shipped, leaving out about 160,000 doses the CDC distributed to pharmacies for vaccinating residents in Michigan nursing homes. Crain’s Detroit reports that when the doses for nursing homes are added into the total, the percentage of people who have received the vaccine falls to 20.6 percent compared with the amount of vaccine on hand.
“It’s senseless for the many available vaccine doses to sit unused,” Whiteford said. “Our frontline workers should be offered the protection of a vaccine quickly and the governor must move on to the next phase of the distribution plan, so we can vaccinate essential workers, high-risk people and the general public, so we can all return to normal life.”
State Rep. Mary Whiteford, chair of the House Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee, today announced the launch of the Michigan Crisis and Action Line, with the rollout beginning in Oakland County and the Upper Peninsula. Whiteford introduced the legislation that created the hotline and has overseen its development for years.
Rep. Whiteford talks about her new, bi-partisan legislation, that she will co-sponsor with Dearborn Democrat Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, that will ban the billboard advertising of marijuana products. Rep. Whiteford says a similar ban on billboard tobacco advertising has been in place for decades.
Rep. Whiteford, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee building the $31 billion budget for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the 2022 Fiscal Year, says the spending plan is seeing a significant infusion of federal dollars while continuing to serve as the state’s safety net.
Rep. Whiteford talks about passage this week of House Bill 4359, which expands the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to improve patient access to safe anesthesia services. The legislation was part of a bipartisan package of health care reform legislation.