Theis questions vaccine expansion while thousands of seniors languish

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Lana Theis on Thursday questioned the logic behind Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to prematurely expand COVID-19 vaccine distribution while tens of thousands of currently eligible seniors are still unable to get their shot.

“Make no mistake, more people getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a good thing and will help us return to a more normal way of living sooner,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “Unfortunately, in this effort, politics is dictating policy — itself an infection that is eroding the moral fabric of our society. Instead of a policy that prioritizes vaccine distribution based on medical needs, this administration is doubling down on a politically driven policy of social equity.

“The science is crystal clear: Seniors over 65 are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, no matter their race, religion, creed or where they live. Yet, while some counties in this state have reported an overabundance of vaccines with vials wasting away unused, Livingston County has over 13,000 seniors who signed up for a vaccine but have yet even to get scheduled for their first dose.

“These aren’t people with just a passive interest — my office has received hundreds of calls and emails from frustrated constituents who have signed up at dozens of locations and even in multiple counties. These are our most vulnerable residents. They are being responsible and want to get a vaccine to protect themselves and others. But their governor is failing them.

“The vulnerable in my district are last in line in the state and can’t get a vaccine because of politics. The recent release of a few hundred excess doses isn’t going to cut it. The governor and state health officials must rethink their approach so that our most vulnerable residents don’t slip through the cracks in our fight against the coronavirus. I am once again calling on the Whitmer administration to immediately implement a policy of COVID-19 vaccine distribution based on medical need to address this growing disparity.”

Livingston County Commissioner Mitchell Zajac echoed Theis’ sentiments.

“Again, despite the fact that the CDC and the state recognize age as the most significant metric of mortality, the residents of Livingston County are being left behind,” Zajac said. “Residents of counties across the state with an overall lower COVID-19 risk of death compared to Livingston County senior citizens will be vaccinated first simply because our senior citizens do not meet the state’s unrelated social priorities agenda.”

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