Governor Whitmer signs executive directive expediting distribution of vaccines to protect younger Michiganders

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today issued an executive directive to state departments and agencies to expedite the ordering and distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccinations to protect younger Michiganders between the ages of 5 to 11 years old and ensure that students could continue in-person learning in a safe environment this year.  

“Today, we’re taking action to keep our kids safe from COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “The Michigan-made Pfizer vaccine is safe, effective, free, and expected to be approved for Michiganders between 5 and 11 years old. This is a game-changer for our kids that will protect them as they continue to learn in-person in the classroom this school year, participate in extracurricular activities, or see friends and family this holiday season. My directive today ensures equitable, expedited distribution of the vaccines. Parents should sign up to protect their kids.”  

On October 26, the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met to discuss emergency use authorization of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for children. After this meeting, the VRBPAC will issue their recommendation to the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is scheduled to meet Nov. 2-3 to review data and recommendations. ACIP is anticipated to issue a recommendation, which will go to CDC for final approval of the emergency use authorization.  

Based on data provided by Pfizer, the vaccine was shown to be nearly 91% effective during the trial at preventing symptomatic disease from COVID-19 in the age group.   

“Being able to vaccinate children ages 5-11 with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine brings us hope and also an opportunity to urge all eligible Michiganders to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “We know these vaccines work. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and now 825,000 children in our state are now eligible to be protected.”  

The executive directive expedites the administration of pediatric vaccinations by: 

  • Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to take all appropriate action to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is available to all children in Michigan as soon as they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • Encouraging all pediatric vaccination providers to enroll as COVID-19 vaccine providers, including by educating pediatricians and family practice providers about eligibility, barriers to access, and the importance of pediatric vaccination.
  • Promoting vaccination in settings that facilitate ease of access, including by working with child and adolescent health centers serving grades K-12, federal qualified health centers, pharmacies, local health departments, and community clinics.  
  • Promoting equity in accessibility of pediatric vaccination, considering barriers to access presented by geography, income, age, race, ethnicity, primary language, or disability status.

The directive also requires the State of Michigan to regularly report the proportion of children ages 5 to 11 who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, nearly 69% of Michiganders 16 years or older and 66.9% of Michiganders 12 years or older have received at least their first dose of one of the three safe, effective vaccines.  

“Throughout the pandemic we have taken every possible measure to keep Michiganders safe,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Being able to protect our children is a critical and exciting development in our efforts to end this pandemic. It is important that children get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”  

From January to October, unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 93.1% of COVID cases, 90.7% of hospitalizations and 90.5% of deaths.  

“Vaccinating kids and teens against COVID will protect their health, allow them to re-engage more safely in activities they’ve missed out on this past year, and protect more vulnerable classmates and family members,” said Dr. Matthew Hornik, DO, President of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (MIAAP). “Pediatricians are the immunization experts, remain at the forefront of care for children, and pediatricians are available to discuss questions and concerns with the families they know and trust.”  

The State of Michigan has pre-ordered 287,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccine to ensure a supply is quickly available when approval is granted.   

Under similar executive orders signed by Governor Whitmer, the state of Michigan has prioritized booster doses for residents in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and adult foster care, and has been working to expedite delivery of third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to residents who have compromised immune systems.   

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine. Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.    

COVID-19 vaccine locations can be found at Vaccines.gov.  

This press release was provided by the Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.