President Joe Biden was right: at this point, COVID-19 is largely a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."
The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Michigan are among the unvaccinated, the state's health department said Thursday.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, from Jan. 15, 2021, to Jan. 14, 2022, unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 77.6% of COVID cases, 85% of hospitalizations, and 83% of deaths.
That's despite the widespread availability of safe, effective, and free vaccines.
The FDA officially approved the Moderna vaccine for people ages 18 and older earlier this week, following its approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in August. (They had been previously authorized for emergency use.) Still, only about 65% of Michiganders ages 5 and older have gotten at least one dose, according to the department.
MDHHS urged the holdouts to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
"We now have two fully FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines that have saved millions of lives throughout the pandemic," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS's chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a statement. "For Michiganders who have been waiting for this approval, now is the time to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and join the nearly 6.5 million Michigan residents who have already received their first dose. The vaccine remains our best defense against the virus as we continue to face omicron and any future variants."
While the omicron strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 can cause "breakthrough" infections in the fully vaccinated, the vaccines still prevent hospitalization and death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise people to get a third booster dose six months after completing two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer shots.
More information is available at Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.
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