DETROIT (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Ford Field Tuesday morning.
“I am really grateful to be receiving my first dose of one of the three safe, effective vaccines that we can access right here at Ford Field and all across Michigan,” she said. “These are miracles of modern science. It’s really a phenomenal thing when you stop to think about it. They’re the most effective way to protect ourselves and our loved ones and to get our whole world back to some normalcy.”
Asked if she was scared as she sat awaiting the jab, Whitmer replied, “No! I got my flu vaccine on television.”
“I feel good. I feel relieved, to be honest,” she added just after her shot.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun the state’s chief medical executive, gave the governor her vaccine dose.
“This truly is the best tool that we have to fight this virus back and to save lives,” Khaldun said. “When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself, you’re protecting your family, you’re protecting your entire community.”
Whitmer’s 19-year-old daughter Sherry was also vaccinated, as were several teens who have volunteered to be student ambassadors of the Protect Michigan Commission, a governor-appointed task force working to encourage residents to get their shots.
Whitmer’s younger daughter has already been vaccinated because she has asthma. The governor said she was happy to be with Sherry as she was protected, too. Whitmer called on fellow parents to get their teens 16 and older vaccinated and urged everyone who gets their shots to encourage others to do so, as well.
On Monday, the state opened vaccine eligibility to everyone age 16 and up, though some hospitals, cities an counties had made the move early. President Joe Biden is asking every state to do the same by April 19, two weeks earlier than his initial deadline.
So far, Michigan has received more than 5.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and more than 4.7 million of those have been administered; 36.5% of the population over the age of 16 has gotten at least one. The goal is to reach 70% of that population, or about 5.6 million people.
More than 68% of people over the age of 65 have gotten at least one vaccine dose, Khaldun said, going on to note that people in that age group are now contracting the virus less frequently than and not being hospitalized as often as those who are younger.
“Vaccines work,” she said. “There’s no question that vaccines work.”
While it is possible to get the virus after you are vaccinated — the shots limit the risk considerably but don’t eliminate it completely — Khaldun said that if you do get it, you’re less likely to get seriously sick or require hospitalization. She said the data the state is collecting already shows this.
After receiving your shot, you should keep washing your hands frequently, practicing social distancing and wearing your mask to help protect those who have not been vaccinated.
You should also get tested if you have been exposed to the virus. People who are traveling for spring break are urged to get tested before and after travel; pop-up testing sites are being set up to help facilitate that.
“There is light at the end of this tunnel, but we are sober about the fact that we are still very much in the tunnel,” Whitmer said. “The only way out is if we work together and everyone does their part.”
After receiving her shot, Whitmer joined General Motors, the United Auto Workers, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan for an announcement on electric vehicles at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit.