Michigan coronavirus strategy should focus on restrictions, not more vaccine supply, Walensky says

By | April 12, 2021

Michigan’s governor has renewed her call for additional vaccine supply from the Biden administration to combat the state’s surging coronavirus cases, but federal officials have instead said the focus should be on implementing restrictions to stop the spread. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the state’s strategy should emulate the restrictions put in place last spring and summer, as sending additional vaccines would result in a delayed impact.

“Really what we need to do in those situations is to shut things down,” Walensky said. “If we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work to actually have the impact.”

Walensky said that when states are faced with “an acute situation, an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan – the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine.” Additionally, she said pulling vaccine supply from one state to give another could create further issues as “we don’t know where the next place” to experience a case surge will be.

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On Friday, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, signaled during a briefing that the government would not be shifting course in its vaccine allocation plans anytime soon. Federal health officials have been on the ground in Michigan and upper Midwest states to further investigate what is driving outbreaks in the region.

Walensky said the states should ramp up testing, focus on decreased contact, conduct contact tracing and shut down necessary activities previously closed to “flatten the curve.” The latest data from Michigan indicates a 16% increase in cases from a week ago, with an average of 6,545 new cases per day, according to MLive.com. The state is also averaging about 40 deaths per day, up from 27 the week prior.

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The concerning trends comes amid promising news on the country’s vaccination front, which saw a new record-high of 4.6 million shots administered on Saturday. The White House’s Andy Slavitt said that 46% of adults have now received at least one shot, and that 28% are now fully vaccinated. Beginning next week, all states will expand eligibility to all adults.


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