Olivia Sunderlik ’21: As the world battles COVID-19, scientists and researchers rush to find a cure to the frightening virus. Fortunately, various companies proved successful in developing a safe, effective, FDA-approved vaccine. While the country finally holds the treatment, the states fight to figure out yet another rising challenge: the distribution.

Each U.S. state yearns to find an effective process to hand out the supplied vaccines. While some states established a beneficial procedure, many other states, including Michigan, display struggles in the distribution of these treatments. As of Monday, January 4th, the Michigan health department revealed the state administered only 27% of the 520,150 vaccine doses. In the U.S., Michigan ranks 43rd in the vaccine distribution compared to other states. 

The administration of the vaccine raises many questions from Michigan citizens. For example, some wonder why the distribution appears slower compared to other states in the nation.

“I don’t know that much about vaccines and how they are distributed, but I am curious on how Michigan compares to other states and why we are ranked in this position,” Angelle Gilbert ‘21 said.

According to MLive News, this situation poses the largest mass vaccination for the country in recent times. Because of this, each state faces various issues. In Michigan, many problems arise from the ending holiday season. Due to the holidays, many healthcare workers and other selected groups chose to postpone their vaccine until January. This occurrence displays some delay in the overall process. 

In addition, opening more vaccination centers presents another obstacle for Michigan. When more health departments open, the state will fulfill the large demand for appointments more easily; therefore, vaccine distribution becomes likely to see a large increase. 

“The state is slowly making more and more departments available for appointments, but vaccine doses are limited and appointments are in high demand. Health departments are urging residents to be patient,” an article from Local 4 News said.

While the delay produces many questions, the process of distribution causes more curiosity from Michigan residents.

“I would like to know who is getting the vaccines right now. I know healthcare workers are one of the biggest priorities, but I wonder if anyone else is eligible,” Sophia Sunderlik ‘21 said.

Recently, Michigan moved into the next phase of vaccinations. The first phase focused primarily on essential healthcare workers. Now, the health department offers vaccinations to other groups of workers.

“Eligible essential workers, teachers, and childcare workers will be notified by their employers about the vaccine clinic dates and locations. For every other patient, at this stage, you’ll need to make an appointment when it becomes available,” another article from Local 4 News said.

As stated above, Michigan vaccinations currently concentrate on healthcare workers, teachers, and those with jobs in childcare. For other individuals, the healthcare department hopes to make appointments available as soon as possible. Michigan created this process to ensure a safe and effective reintegration to normal life. As more of these essential groups receive the vaccine, more vaccines will become available to different populations.

While the distribution of a COVID-19 cure appears very exciting, the reality demonstrates this process comes with struggles. As the country continues to fight the pandemic, Michigan will continue to vaccinate as many individuals as quickly and effectively as possible. Delays and imperfections exist in the process, but the state continually evolves to fix these delays and prioritize the health of Michigan residents.

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