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Northern Michigan health leaders ‘implore’ people to get any COVID-19 vaccine offered

Brett Dahlberg

With three different vaccines are authorized for use against COVID-19 in the U.S., health officials in northern Michigan urged people to get vaccinated with whichever one they’re offered.

Dr. Christine Nefcy, the chief medical officer for Munson Healthcare, based in Traverse City, said this is a critical time for people to get vaccinated. Acting quickly, she said, could prevent more contagious variants of the virus from taking root here like they have in other parts of the world.And she added that she would encourage her own family members to take any of the three vaccines they were offered.

“If we did this right, we could get a lot more people vaccinated before we see the impact of these variants like they saw in the U.K.,” she said.

But Nefcy said even after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is delivered in northern Michigan – she’s expecting the first doses to start arriving by the end of this week – there will still be nowhere near enough to go around.

The three authorized vaccines are all effective at preventing serious disease and death from COVID-19, and a panel of top scientists found that their benefits far outweigh any risks, said Munson infectious disease pharmacist Nick Torney.

“We are extremely excited” to have the vaccine authorized and on its way to Michigan, he said.

Torney and Nefcy both said that until people can get vaccinated, they should keep doing the same things health experts have been advising since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I just would implore people to sort of stick with what we know works, and that’s the masking, handwashing and social distancing,” said Nefcy.

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.
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