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Michigan's COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Falls Behind On Goal To Reaching Herd Immunity

(CBS DETROIT) - The goal to reaching a 70% vaccination rate in Michigan is still in the works.

That number is the mark the state needs to hit to reach herd immunity.

Beaumont Health Director of Infectious Disease Research Dr. Matthew Sims is optimistic about the metrics since the FDA fully approved the Pfizer vaccine.

"Out of the people who haven't gotten vaccinated yet, something like 31% of them said that they'd get vaccinated if the FDA gives full approval, so now we'll see if the 31% or some of the others go out and do it," said Sims.

According to Dr. Sims, COVID-19 cases are up across the Beaumont Health System, jumping from 30 to 200 cases since the beginning of July, and the numbers are steadily rising.

"We're certainly concerned, and it keeps going up," said Sims. "Right, if we were seeing it tail off or if it went up but stabilized, that would be one thing, but you know the more hospitalizations, the more time and effort has to be put into caring for these patients. The more you know, protective equipment needs, the more stress on the nurses and doctors and everybody else who helps care for these patients."

The state needs 5.6 million residents 16-and-up to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

Currently, 5.2 million residents have received at least one shot.

"Herd immunity doesn't mean there are no infections at all, it means it's relatively low, and the chance of spread is significantly reduced," said Sims. "So, the thing is the virus keeps changing, and until we get to herd immunity and not just here but across the globe, which is a bigger challenge, we'll still get new variants."

Based on a statement released by Whitmer's office, unvaccinated residents account for 98% of COVID-19 cases, 95% of hospitalizations, and 96% of deaths from January to July of this year in the state.

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