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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Making History

February 1st, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccines are finally here, and we continue to receive weekly allocations from the state. It has been truly remarkable that within such a short time, we have built the capacity to ramp up and vaccinate up to 24,000 people per week.

Why is this historic? As many of you know, Thomas Francis led efforts in polio vaccination here at the University of Michigan many years ago. Now decades later, we are a critical part of the response to a world-wide pandemic through our many efforts to combat COVID-19.

I am extremely proud and grateful to the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, and to everyone who has contributed to this monumental effort. If ever we have stepped up for our workforce and our community, it is now.

To all those involved in the vaccine program from all areas of the organization, I can’t thank you enough.  You have exemplified our core values of teamwork and inclusion to create a seamless, well-structure vaccination process that allows us to reach as many people as quickly as possible, based on our vaccine supply.

I also want to thank the many volunteers who immediately raised their hands when we asked for additional help at vaccination sites. Due to your generous response we now have a waiting list of eager helpers. Thank you for your caring support.

Although we have now completed the second dose for much of our work force, we still need to remain vigilant. Community transmission is still the greater risk to our health care system, and there are still unknowns. Can people who are vaccinated still be carriers? Will these vaccines be resistant to the new variants?  How long will the vaccines last and will we need boosters? 

These are all questions that are still cause for concern, angst, and fear. For many, this is a time of celebration for the vaccine, but some may still be skeptical or resistant to getting vaccinated. We can take action by sharing our knowledge of science and credible sources of information to dispel myths and reinforce important public health and safety measures during the pandemic.

While we can see light at the end of the tunnel, there are also many curveballs that could come our way before we see the end of the pandemic.  I am encouraged when I hear your words of comfort to our patients, and see the deep resiliency that you have demonstrated. This is why I know your role is absolutely critical to continued implementation of our vaccine program, and eventually, defeating the pandemic. 

This is a historical moment, and I thank you for helping us shape that history.  

Hear what our colleagues are saying about why they are receiving the vaccine, reflected in this  “Confidence Begins With You” Video.

What do you think you will remember most when you think back to this historic moment? Share your thoughts in the discussion box below.