Whitmer: Planning Underway For Vaccine Distribution

Dec 1, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, (D) Michigan
Credit Photo provided by the State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer acknowledged Tuesday that it’s becoming more difficult to get people to follow mask, distance, and gathering guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s as her top health advisor warned that a new wave of infections is likely following Thanksgiving gatherings.

“That is one thing I am very concerned about, is that people may have gathered or traveled over the Thanksgiving break,” said Michigan Chief Medical Executive Doctor Joneigh Khaldun. “Any increase in cases over the Thanksgiving holiday, we would not expect to see for two to three weeks in our data.”

Whitmer said that’s why she’s asking people to plan now to curtail plans for Christmas and New Year gatherings. She also did not rule out new restrictions if COVID infections take a dramatic turn for the worse.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this,” she said. “The next couple of months are going to be hard.” 

Alongside the plea for sacrifice, Whitmer struck an optimistic note looking ahead to 2021.

“The good news is there is hope on the horizon,” she said. “There is truly significant progress being made in the realm of vaccine development.”

Whitmer said frontline health care workers will be first in line if one or both of the most-promising vaccines go into production.

The governor also reiterated her call on the Legislature’s GOP leaders to agree to a $100 million dollar state COVID response bill in the absence of more federal assistance.

That drew a mixed but mostly chilly response from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), said his spokesperson Amber McCann:

“Senator Shirkey is glad to see the governor reverse her position that there is nothing she can do for the workers and businesses impacted by her shutdown orders. He is not able to endorse the Governor’s plan without having access to the details, specifically a funding source.

The Senate is actively working on a responsible plan to get dollars to Michiganders in need. We will share that soon and would welcome support from the Whitmer Administration.”