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Michigan can vaccinate 80K people a day, but supply limited

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo

State health officials said Friday that Michigan has capacity to vaccinate up to 80,000 people a day but the supply of COVID-19 doses, while higher in recent weeks, remains limited.

They also said their goal is to ensure no one has to travel more than 20 minutes to a vaccination site in the pandemic, and that a priority is to allocate additional doses to areas based on factors such as poverty, lack of transportation and crowded housing.

It “correlates extremely closely with the communities that were hardest hit by COVID-19 in the spring,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state health department.

The city of Detroit, for instance, was an early hot spot. Racial disparities have diminished since, but Detroit still has seen a disproportionate death toll. So have Michigan’s Black residents, who comprise 14% of the population but account for 22% of 15,700-plus confirmed or probable deaths tied to the virus.

Hertel said the state is working toward equitably distributing doses to hospitals and county health departments, based on the population of local residents in the Phase 1B vaccination group — those 65 and older and essential workers like teachers. Allocations also are being weighted based on a “social vulnerability index” developed by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.