(CBS DETROIT) – Michigan expects to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccines this month.

Here’s updates from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun regarding COVID-19 and the continued efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

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During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Khaldun says there are 514 cases per million per day in the state and has been declining for the past 19 days. All areas of the state have seen a decline in the case rate. The percent of tests that are positive is at 14 percent and the number has been fluctuating up and down for the past few weeks, but has not changed significantly and is “still quite high.”

Hospitalizations are overall trending down over the past week and decreased in all but two regions in the state. Nineteen percent of in-patient beds have COVID-19 patients in them.

There’s also been a slight decrease in testing. Michigan has averaged a little over 56,500 tests per day last week compared to over 59,000 tests per day this week.

When will vaccines be available?

The department is actively preparing to distribute a COVID vaccine when it is approved by the FDA. Khaldun said this could happen as early as the week of Dec. 14.

“A vaccine will only be approved when it has gone through three phases of clinical trials including tens of thousands of people, and the top scientists and doctors in the country have reviewed the data and have determined that the vaccine is actually safe,” she said.

There are two vaccines in the final approval processes. Once they are approved, the department is expected to receive a “limited allocation” of the vaccines and expects to receive shipments every week. The vaccines would then go to hospitals, local health departments, pharmacies and other partners, according to Khaldun.

Based on recents estimates from the federal government, Michigan will receive about 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine if it becomes available the week of Dec. 14. The Moderna vaccine — which is a different vaccine — is behind the Pfizer vaccine in the approval process, Khaldun said.

“If it is approved, and that may be later on this month as well, recent federal estimates suggests (Michigan) will receive about 173,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in the first shipment,” she said.

Khaldun reiterated information provided on the vaccines Thursday, were both estimates and depend on the federal government and the manufacturing process.

“The amount and the timing of these shipments could still change, but we are still making plans to send vaccines to hospitals and local health departments across the state that have the ability to administer and store them,” she said.

Who will get the vaccine first?

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The first priority for vaccination will be frontline healthcare workers, as well as people living and working in longterm care facilities. As more vaccines become available, they will be distributed to more people including other essential workers, people with underline medical conditions and people who are over the age of 65.

By late spring, Khaldun hopes the vaccine will be available for the general public.

“It is important that every adult in the state starts making plans for getting the vaccine. Talk to your doctor now about your risk factors and when the vaccine may become available to you,” she said.

On Friday, the department released additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.

The department said it is important to note that vaccination in one phase may not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. Vaccination in these phases will likely overlap.

There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs.

What to expect when you get vaccinated?

For the maximum vaccination benefit, there will be two doses for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If you get the Pfizer vaccine, the shot will be administered three weeks apart. For the Moderna vaccine, the shot will be administered four weeks apart.

The vaccines are preparing your body to fight the real virus if it comes into contact with it. This means many will get mild symptoms after getting vaccinated such as:

  • a sore arm
  • low grade fever
  • general malaise

Khaldun said these are things to expect and it means that the vaccine is working.

Will there be a reminder to get the second dose?

MDHHS plans to use multiple ways to notify you of your second dose. COVID-19 vaccination reminder cards will be provided to you when you receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The card provides room for a written reminder for a second-dose appointment. If you have a smartphone, consider taking a photo of your vaccination record and entering the date the next vaccine dose is due in your calendar. MDHHS is also developing text messaging reminders that will be sent prior to your second dose.

In addition, health care providers or health systems may also have other methods in place to help remind you of when to return for your second dose.

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Khaldun also urged the public to go to trusted sources when it comes to information on the vaccines visit www.michigan.gov/covidvaccine for more information.

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This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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