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The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Michigan

  • Staff and residents at long-term care facilities and health care workers (Phase 1A)

Where can I get vaccinated? 

  • State providers: Vaccinations can be scheduled via Michigan's local health departments. You can find the local health department for your county using this map, which also includes the contact numbers for those that are accepting appointments. 
  • Retail pharmacies and other providers: Rite Aid and Meijer are accepting appointments from eligible Michiganders. Frontline essential workers will be notified by their employers about vaccine clinic dates and locations. 
  • Community health centers: Cherry Street Services in Grand Rapids is scheduling vaccine appointments online for eligible Michiganders. In Lincoln, Alcona Citizens for Health is also offering COVID-19 vaccinations (go here for more information). The Intercare Community Health Network in Bangor is offering vaccines. Call (855) 869-6900 or email contactus@intercare.orgfor more information. 
  • Michigan's COVID-19 hotline is 888-535-6136 or 211 if you need assistance signing up. It's available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.
    Covid-19 Vaccination Distribution At Novi Fire Station
    A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-up clinic in Novi.
    Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others.

AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. 

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.

If you are eligible due to an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible on the basis of your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.

Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?

The next phase, Phase 1C, covers other frontline essential workers and those age 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. Phase 2 of the state plan opens up vaccinations to Michigan residents age 16 or older. State health officials caution that vaccinations in one phase may not be complete before another phase begins.

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines because the science shows that older people are at higher risk of death from the coronavirus.

I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot.

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider stating when and where to return for the second dose.

Michigan’s interim distribution plan states that all vaccinations will be recorded in its database, called the Michigan Care Improvement Registry. You will be reminded, via postcards or text messages, to come back for a second shot after you get your first. 

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot.  

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. 

How will nursing home and other long-term care residents get the vaccine?

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities are being vaccinated through a federal program that has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to offer the shots at such facilities at no cost. Michigan is participating in the program. 

CVS and Walgreens have finished offering first doses to all staff and residents of nursing homes and are now giving second doses. They are also now offering first-dose clinics at assisted living facilities nationwide. 

Do I have to pay for the vaccination? 

AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. The federal government is buying the vaccine and getting it to providers for free. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example). You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. 

Michigan’s plan stipulates that COVID-19 vaccines will be free. While providers may charge administration fees, those charges must be filed with a recipient’s health insurance company. Uninsured Michigan residents will get the vaccine at no cost.

There are already reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes. Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-life conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose of a vaccine. And while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective at preventing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s not yet clear whether someone who’s been vaccinated can still catch the virus and transmit it to others.

The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC says it could take months for the population to build up immunity, and the agency continues to recommend preventive measures such as face masks and social distancing. 

In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, although they would still provide some protection.

This guide was originally published in December 2020. It was updated on Feb. 27 with new information on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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