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Home Health State passes along Moderna, Pfizer vaccines to health systems, health departments

State passes along Moderna, Pfizer vaccines to health systems, health departments

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Michigan officials said Wednesday they received federal approval to redirect another 63,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses next week to health systems and health departments, a welcome development that vaccination providers have been clamoring for over the past week.

But it is uncertain how long the state will continue to receive the approximately 123,450 Pfizer and Moderna weekly dose shipments. The federal government hasn’t given the state future shipment information past the current week.

This week, health systems and health departments have so far received about 110,400 doses, minus 11,900 that were spoiled during delivery from McKesson Corp., Sutfin said. The Moderna doses were reshipped to providers this week because they got too cold, an event McKesson hasn’t yet explained, state officials said.

Every Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services informs Michigan and other states how many doses they will be shipped based on orders and availability. However, those numbers for the next week aren’t finalized until Thursday evening, said Lynn Sutfin, a state health spokesperson.

Vaccine providers start to receive the current week’s shipment Sunday night and continue to receive deliveries through Tuesday.

Health systems and health departments have told Crain’s they need to be informed earlier and with more certainty how many doses they will receive in order to schedule vaccination appointments.

Several health systems, including Beaumont Health, Trinity Health and Henry Ford Health System, said they have received fewer vaccine doses this week than in previous weeks. Some appointments have been rescheduled because of the limited supply, spokespersons said.

Sutfin said she didn’t have data on how many of the 122,400 doses this week went to health systems and health departments, but she said the state is doing its best to keep everyone informed.

In a Jan. 19 statement, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state is ready to ramp up vaccination distribution, but needs the state Legislature’s help. Whitmer asked legislators to approve federal appropriations amounting to $90 million in additional resources for vaccine distribution in Michigan through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Whitmer said the funding could help Michigan ramp up to its goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day.

Another $575 million in federal month is expected to expand COVID testing, tracing, and lab capacity in Michigan, Whitmer said.

Vaccine administration numbers continue to go slow as supplies of doses have been limited.

As of Jan. 19, Michigan has received nearly 1.1 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna, with a total of 512,000 doses administered, a 46 percent rate, said Sarah Lyon-Callo, MDHHS director of the bureau of epidemiology and population health, in a Zoom press conference Wednesday.

The 46 percent dosing rate is higher than last week’s rate of about 37 percent, according to state data. Over the past several weeks, vaccination providers have increased inoculations, a positive trend based on health system and nursing home vaccination programs.

Lyon-Callo said CVS and Walgreens have administered 61,452 first and second doses to nearly 1,100 nursing homes and assisted living facilities as of Jan. 18. There are an estimated 300,000 long-term care residents and staff.

Sutfin said the Moderna doses, which the state has been reallocating to hospitals and health departments, are not being withdrawn directly from the federal long-term care vaccine “bank” that CVS and Walgreens uses in its nursing home resident and staff administration program.

At least 241,000 Moderna doses still remain in the long-term care bank, which are intended for first and second doses for nursing homes over the next two to three months.

“What we have done is deferred (Moderna) doses going into the program” and instead redirected the vaccines to hospitals and health departments, Sutfin said. “Rather than sitting in the bank, we want to get them into the arms of Michiganders.”

Sutfin said the state received federal permission to do so last Wednesday. She said it is unclear if next week’s allocation will be the same.

“We don’t know if it will come from the bank or not. It depends on how much (we receive) from Moderna and how much CVS and Walgreens uses,” Sutfin said.

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