LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s health director is ordering nursing homes to offer on-site booster shots to residents who aren’t up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine.

“With the Omicron variant rapidly spreading across our state and cases of COVID-19 continuing to remain high, we want to make sure our most vulnerable Michiganders are protected from the virus,” Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director, said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is our best defense against the virus, and we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get up to date.” 

The facilities must comply within 30 days.

MDHHS said nursing homes must document a resident’s consent or refusal of the offered COVID-19 booster shot. For residents who are unable to make their own medical decisions, nursing homes must document the consent, assent or refusal made by the person who is authorized to make medical decisions on behalf of the resident.  

About 75% of eligible nursing home residents have gotten a booster dose. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer previously set a goal of getting 95% of eligible residents a booster by the end of January.

Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state health department, said Thursday that vaccinations are even more important because the rapidly spreading omicron variant can more readily evade people’s immunity from vaccines and past infections. The order doesn’t require nursing home residents to be vaccinated.