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Top state health official working on coronavirus vaccine distribution plans

LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) – A coronavirus vaccine remains months away from approval, but Michigan’s chief medical executive discussed some early planning for how it will be distributed to the public when available.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said the vaccine will go to the most vulnerable populations and essential workers first. Residents will be placed in different levels of risk and those at the highest risk of serious illness from coronavirus will be vaccinated first.

“In Michigan, we are going to prioritize making sure there is equitable access to the vaccine and that we eliminate as many barriers as possible – focusing on those who are the most vulnerable,” she said.

State health officials are working on plans with federal, state and local health officials for distributing the eventual coronavirus vaccine to various populations around Michigan based on their risk level.

Khaldun is aware of 135 potential COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of development, including some involving Michigan companies. Eight of those are undergoing large-scale trials in Phase 3.

She pointed out that only one of those needs to be proven safe and effective before a vaccine can be approved and released for use on the general population. An approved vaccine is possible in early 2021.

Until that happens, Khaldun called on Michiganders to wear a mask, wash their hands often, practice social distancing and keep up with other vaccines — including an annual flu shot.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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