Gilchrist visits Grand Rapids to urge vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist visited Grand Rapids Friday afternoon as part of his tour around the state urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gilchrist headed to New Hope Baptist Church, an historically Black church that has been hosting a vaccine clinic, spoke with local health and community leaders about their efforts.

Michigan is striving to vaccinate 70% of its population over the age of 16. While the percentage has climbed to nearly 56%, demand has tanked in recent weeks. Most people who really wanted shots have already been able to get them. Health officials must now focus on reaching those who are willing to get the shots but want it to be convenient or those who are hesitant for any number of reasons.

This week, vaccine eligibility opened up to children 12 to 15. While the state is tracking those shots, that demographic is so far not being factored into metrics now tied to the loosening of restrictions.

The Grand Rapids trip was the second of Gilchrist’s series of stops, which has been dubbed the “Making Real Change” tour. He already visited Flint and will also go to Saginaw and Detroit.

He heads up the governor’s task force addressing the racial disparities of the pandemic and is a chair of her Protect Michigan Commission created to encourage people to get the shots.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited a vaccination clinic in Kalamazoo earlier this week as part of the state’s push to get people vaccinated.

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