Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are some important legislative and COVID-19 updates, along with a few resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1788 or email at KyraBolden@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 35th House District
Please be on the lookout for my upcoming events. The best way for me to serve you is making sure your voice is heard. You can watch live on Facebook Live and Zoom.
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On behalf of the 35th House District of Michigan, I want to thank you for attending the virtual COVID-19 Town Hall: “The Vaccine is approved. What’s Next?” on March 26, 2021. We were able to spread awareness of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and share more information about the 3 vaccine options. To view a recording of the town hall please click here.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
I am thrilled to see so many in our community starting to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is an exciting and promising time, but we are not out of the woods. It is more important than ever to be diligent, and to continue to mask up. Michigan now ranks first in the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita over the last week.
For those who have not heard, it was announced last week that another variant of COVID-19 is now present in Michigan—there has been a confirmed case of the “Brazil variant” in a Bay County resident. The Brazil variant—or the P.1 variant—was first identified in travelers from Brazil during routine airport screening in Tokyo in early January, and it’s been associated with increased transmissibility and concerns that it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity, according to the state’s recent press release.
In addition to this new variant, Michigan currently has increased cases tied to two others—the one discovered in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7 variant), and the South Africa variant (B.1.351).
It is so important that we continue to be vigilant and follow all guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and also the CDC. Please be patient. Our supply of vaccinations is increasing, and we are making great progress in getting all eligible Michiganders vaccinated as quickly as possible.
While you wait, stay safe:
Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the White House if they would send additional vaccines to address the surge in cases. This request was granted, and this week Michigan’s direct allocation will increase by 66,020 doses, for a total of 620,040 vaccines—a weekly record high for Michigan. Millions of additional doses will be sent to federally partnered retail pharmacies in the U.S., which include numerous locations in Michigan.
Michigan has administered more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since mid-December when they first became available. As of March 28, 32.5% of the state’s population 16 years and older have received their first dose, and 19.2% have been fully vaccinated.
With that said, yesterday was a BIG day in Michigan! Starting Monday, April 5, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands to every person aged 16 and older.
We know that this news comes with a lot of questions—most importantly, where you can get your vaccine. Here are some tips for getting an appointment:
At this point, retail pharmacies are the number one provider of vaccines to those starting the process. However, many places are only scheduling appointments a week or two in advance because of uncertainty about how many doses they will have available in a given week. Here is how to register with a pharmacy:
Currently, Oakland County has started a “Save Your Spot” sign-up for the vaccine, which allows Oakland County to organize and distribute the vaccine. Follow these steps to reserve your spot:
For hospital systems: To check vaccine availability at your local hospital, Google “COVID vaccine” and the hospital’s name. Most hospitals will require you to create an online account or download an app to get on a waitlist.
Veterans Affairs: Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. Those enrolled in the VA health care system get priority; additional appointments go to others based on additional eligibility requirements. Sign up with the VA to get updates on vaccine availability and to be notified when you can make an appointment.
Ford Field Mass Vaccination: The state and federal governments have set up a mass vaccination clinic at Ford Field in Detroit, where 8,000 people will be vaccinated a day. The site will operate from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week, through mid-May. There are interpreters on-site at Ford Field for 130 different languages.
Sign-up is available through options below. After the registration process is completed, people who have registered will receive an invitation either by call or text when it’s their turn to schedule the appointment. Vaccine appointments will be scheduled a few days in advance.
MDHHS – Internet / Vaccine Help: If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet and they’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, or maybe they need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance.
For statewide vaccine distribution information, visit the State of Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine website.
The City of Southfield has also launched a COVID Vaccine Hotline to assist seniors register for eligible vaccination appointments. Click here to learn more.