How Oakland County plans to overcome vaccine hesitancy

Matthew Donnellon
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Michigan’s vaccination rates are slowing.

Recently, Bridge Michigan released a report that Michigan may not hit the 70% threshold until August, “demand for inoculations in Michigan is fading fast, jeopardizing a quick return to office work, concerts, sporting events and a maskless life.

Since Whitmer announced her “Vacc to Normal” plan last week, the state vaccination rate — those getting at least one dose — has moved less than 1 percentage point, from 49.9 percent to 50.6 percent.”

With vaccination rates slowing, the governor will be under more pressure to open up the state despite not hitting vaccination targets.

How does this vaccination hesitancy affect residents at a local level?

Oakland County Executive David Coulter discussed how they plan to overcome this dilemma.

He says that the people who have yet to be vaccinated fall into two groups. One group is the people who will never get vaccinated and probably never will be.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a report that suggested nearly 20% of adults say that they will never get vaccinated.

Coulter said the second group is different. There are a number of reasons why they have yet to get the shot. For instance, some were reluctant to get it and wanted to see how it affected their friends and family. Others were just nervous to get the vaccine and were worried about the side effects.

Some just hadn’t been able to get it yet. Michigan had a tiered system and unless you were a senior citizen, immuno-compromised or an essential worker, it was hard to get an appointment. Coulter mentioned with more places offering more convenient options he expects many of those people to get the vaccine now.

One of the biggest things they are doing to address the slowing rates is to switch from appointment only to walk up vaccine clinics, making it easier to get the shot.

Also they switched focus from the large vaccination sites to community oriented ones.

He is hoping with these new changes the state will be able to hit the 70% vaccination threshold needed to achieve herd immunity.

I have included his interview.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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