I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you as your new state representative.
Originally from Indiana, I attended Valparaiso University before moving to Michigan to begin my career as a teacher in the Detroit Public Schools Community District in 2011. I also served as an Oak Park City Council member from 2017 until my election to the House in 2020.
As a former educator, I bring to Lansing an in-depth, intimate knowledge of the many issues plaguing Michigan’s public schools, and I am dedicated to using that knowledge to help improve education policy at the state level. As a former council member, I bring a passion for local government and a determination to increase investment back into our local communities.
I know that the last year has been difficult due to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, but I want to assure you that we are making progress. That progress is due in large part to you and other members of our community doing your part by wearing a mask, washing your hands, refraining from unnecessary social gatherings, and maintaining social distancing in public spaces.
Thank you. I know that it hasn’t been easy, but your contribution has made all the difference in ensuring that Michigan can move ahead toward a safer future. As we continue the vaccination rollout we are moving everyday closer to a time when we can all come together again, safely. In the meantime, it is critical that we stay the course and continue to making sacrifices to protect ourselves, our families, and our community.
I know many of you have questions about the vaccine and its distribution, so I have included information below that I hope you will find useful.
If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by calling (517) 373-0478, or sending an email to ReginaWeiss@house.mi.gov.
You can also stay up-to-date with my current events and news by visiting Weiss.Housedems.com.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how diseases without vaccines can devastate an economy and public health. In modern history, vaccines have been integral in reducing, and in some cases, eliminating diseases. The Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is committed to following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, with input from state public health and health care leaders and reviewed correspondence from the public. Distribution in Michigan will be in a phased approach, with an emphasis on ensuring the continued functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community and protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Continue on below for more information, or visit michigan.gov/coronavirus. For more locally specific information, you can also visit www.oaklandcountyvaccine.com/
Vaccination Approval Process
Vaccines are approved only after they have been held to the highest safety standards. Before a vaccine like the one being used to combat COVID-19 is granted approval, the data has been reviewed by the country’s top public health, medical and immunization experts. Here’s how a new vaccine is typically developed, approved and manufactured:
In an incredible feat, the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed faster than any before thanks to the unprecedented, worldwide collaboration among scientists, medical doctors, health and government officials, and manufacturers. This collective effort has allowed researchers to shorten the typical vaccine timeline without sacrificing safety or quality.
Vaccine Distribution & Administration Plan
As of the time of this writing, the state of Michigan receives around 60,000 doses per week to distribute statewide. To date, Oakland County has received approximately 7,000 for distribution to its residents. Currently, Oakland County is in Phase 1A of the vaccination process. This phase 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 will be next, which includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
If you fall into the 1A category and need an appointment, you can contact the Oakland County Nurse on Call at (800) 848-5533.
Oakland County recently rolled out an online form to “save your spot” when you are eligible to receive the vaccine. If you fill out the form the county will contact you when it’s your turn to get vaccinated. You can sign up here: https://oaklandcountyvaccine.com/
I know this continues to be a stressful time for us all, and you may be anxious to receive your vaccination, but local health officials and I thank you for your patience as we work through this process. Again, be sure to visit michigan.gov/coronavirus and www.oaklandcountyvaccine.com/ for updated information as it becomes available.
UIA Update: $300 Supplemental Benefit Payments
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has started issuing $300 weekly Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) payments to an estimated 365,000 claimants on regular state unemployment insurance (UI) and Extended Benefit programs this weekend.
The PUC supplement, which is payable from Dec. 27, 2020, through March 13, 2021, provides an additional $300 per week to all eligible unemployment recipients who receive at least $1 for the week. Claimants do not need to take any action to receive this additional weekly benefit, it will be paid automatically after they certify. The additional payment comes from an extension of the federal COVID-19 relief package passed in December.
Workers who were on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) continue to have no actions to take at this time. They will not be able to complete certifications and payments will not be issued for weeks after Dec. 26 until the technical updates to the UI system are completed per the recently received guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Labor (USDOL). This will only be a disruption and claimants will be made whole once the extensions are fully implemented.
If you have any questions or concerns about your unemployment benefits, please reach out to my office.
Thank you for taking the time to read these updates. I am honored to serve the 27th district, and please reach out if you ever have any questions or concerns.