by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 recovery plan requires the state must reach 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older with a first vaccine injection before dropping all COVID-19 restrictions.
But the state doesn’t know how many residents have already been vaccinated in other states unless residents give that information to the state health department.
“If a health care provider adds the person’s immunization data in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) (the Michigan system for recording vaccine information) it will be added to the doses administered on Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard,” MDHHS spokesperson Lynn Sutfin told The Center Square in an email. “This would require the individual who was vaccinated out-of-state to take their immunization record card to their health care provider and the provider would be able to add it to the MCIR.”
In Wisconsin as of May 5, 13,925 Michigan residents had doses injected in Wisconsin, state health department spokesperson Elizabeth Goodsitt told The Center Square in an email.
Ohio only tracks out-of-state vaccinations as a whole, not by a particular state, such as Michigan, state health department spokesperson Alicia Shoults told The Center Square in an email.
Illinois and Indiana haven’t yet responded to questions about how many Michiganders they’ve vaccinated.
Michigan’s COVID-19 first vaccination data show the state is roughly 1.56 million first injections from dropping COVID-19 restrictions.
Eight Republican lawmakers, including many who represent border counties, have asked Whitmer to update her guidance to account for these already-vaccinated residents.
“Vaccinations are a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19 and a metric-based reopening plan is one we have fought long and hard for throughout the past year. But, as we now know, Michigan had one of the worst vaccine rollouts across the nation, which spurred many people to cross state borders into Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin to receive the vaccine. The low vaccination rates associated with these border counties do not accurately reflect reality,” they wrote in a letter.
“We urge Governor Whitmer to expand existing benchmarks and create a more reliable recording process to include Michiganders vaccinated out-of-state, so we can more accurately portray the number of statewide inoculations. This will allow us to reopen our state even more quickly and safely so we can once again support our favorite small businesses, visit elderly family members, and make in-person learning a priority for our children.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.