Citing Vaccine Requirement, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Shirkey to Skip Detroit Regional Chamber’s Conference


Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has indicated he plans to skip the Mackinac Policy Conference, which is hosted annually by the Detroit Regional Chamber, citing the conference’s COVID vaccine requirement. 

The Republican leader reportedly said he is already immune, having gotten COVID-19, and therefore chooses not to get vaccinated.

“It appears the Chamber cowed to political science rather than embrace actual science,” Shirkey said in a statement.

Shirkey’s office has pointed to a study by Oregon Health & Science University that indicates those who have had the novel coronavirus retain significant immunity from it afterward. Supporters of vaccinating the previously COVID-infected have meanwhile referred to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released last week that asserts vaccines provide a higher degree of protection from the virus than prior acquisition of it.

The Chamber, which cancelled their yearly conference in 2021, initially planned on holding this year’s gathering in May but postponed it until Monday, September 20th, through Wednesday, September 23rd. The organization this week announced plans to use a health-screening platform called CLEAR Health Pass to verify that all attendees have received a COVID vaccine. Those who have registered to attend must either sign onto the CLEAR Health Pass system online and complete the verification process or request a refund by Friday, September 10th. 

This year’s conference, to be held at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, will operate at a capacity that is 30 percent below a typical year — about 1,300 this time. According to the Chamber, capacity reduction and vaccine verification might not be the only health precautions they take, though it is not certain at this point what other requirements will be enjoined.

“Given the rise of the Delta variant and increasing COVID-19 case counts across the country and in our state, additional protocols may be necessary to ensure safety,” the Chamber said in a statement this week. “Conference leadership, Chairman [Wright L.] Lassiter, and the Henry Ford Clinical Advisory Team will continue to monitor Michigan’s public health status. The Chamber will communicate additional protocols and changes to the Conference experience as needed.”

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Bradley Vasoli is a reporter at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike Shirkey” by Mike Shirkey.







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  1. […] things are that bad?” he added of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference decision to require […]