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Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Talks Reaching Herd Immunity

(CBS DETROIT) - Michigan is drawing closer to normalcy since the COVID-19 pandemic first reared its deadly head.

The state is now seeing a new milestone in vaccination rates, where 3/5 of residents 16 and older have received their first shot.

Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun told CW50/CBS 62 projections for herd immunity calls for 70% to 80% of the state's entire population to be fully vaccinated.

"We're seeing our hospitalization rates come down as well as our cases, our cases numbers come down all across the entire state," said Khaldun.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, currently, the state is seeing its lowest infection rates since the start of the pandemic at four percent.

"The data and the science shows that these vaccines work. These vaccines are safe and they are the way we're going to be able to end this pandemic and not just save your own life, but the life of someone who you care about and love," said Khaldun.

With Detroit being Michigan's largest population it's a key city to help bring the state closer to herd immunity.

But Dr. Khaldun says challenges in access to health care is causing health regulators to rethink its approach to getting people vaccinated.

Now, officials are going door-to-door in the city to bring awareness to residents.

"When we are seeing infections, those infections are coming more likely in people who have not been vaccinated yet and they're still getting very sick," said Khaldun.

And although Michigan is making headway in infection rates, the development of new variants is still posing a threat.

"Potentially some of them are more deadly, make people sicker. So we have to really be vigilant. The most important thing you can do right now if you are eligible is, get that vaccine," said Khaldun.

Dr. Khaldun is stressing for unvaccinated people to continue to wear masks and social distance.

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