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Whitmer gets COVID-19 vaccine with teen daughter

DETROIT (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer got her first COVID-19 vaccine shot Tuesday, touting it as the most effective way to protect people and to return Michigan to normalcy.

The governor, 49, was vaccinated at Ford Field’s mass clinic alongside her 19-year-old daughter, Sherry, and other teens a day after eligibility expanded to everyone ages 16 and older. Whitmer said she was grateful and urged parents to ensure their high school- and college-age kids are inoculated, too.

The state is facing the country’s highest rate of new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, which the governor — who does not plan to tighten restrictions — blames on pandemic fatigue, noncompliance with safety rules, residents’ increased movement and more contagious variants. The seven-day case average, nearly 6,000 a day, was last that high nearly four months ago. The average positivity rate, 15.7%, has not been higher since nearly a year ago, when many people could not get tested.

Case rates were especially inflated in the Thumb region, Macomb County near Detroit, the Gaylord area, and counties south and east of Lansing.

“I feel good. I feel relieved to be honest,” Whitmer told reporters after receiving a dose of the Pfizer vaccine from Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive.

Khaldun said Michigan hospitals were treating roughly 3,100 adults with confirmed infections on Monday, up nearly 500 from three days before and quadruple from early March. About half were under age 60.

“We are all in this together, no matter your age,” she said, addressing young people in particular. “When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself, you’re protecting your family, you’re protecting your entire community.”

More than 36% of eligible residents had gotten at least one shot as of Sunday. About 68% of people ages 65 and up — those at increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 — had received a dose.

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