Will Michigan Mandate Coronavirus Vaccine? Whitmer Weighs In And Talks Second Lockdown

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By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Among the many criticisms lobbed at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her handling of the pandemic is this: Strip clubs have reopened and gyms have not.

The one that's allowed has no redeeming social value, the argument goes, except to harbor the spread of disease, while the one that's banned could potentially build up bodies to improve their immune systems against the virus. 

So, what does the governor have to say about it? Whitmer took on the issue during an interview on WWJ 950 Monday morning.

"I mean I understand the concern and the question," she said. "We have been navigating this in real time just like every other state and those clubs were lumped into restaurants and bars and so they came online earlier than gyms. Could we, should we have have made that different? Yes, I think so. It's an ongoing concern and discussion among my team."

While she conceded that misstep, the governor also addressed this issue that's top of mind for many parents ... If a vaccine is developed will it be mandatory for Michiganders? Whitmer didn't say yes, but she didn't say no either. 

"One of the things that we know is the more people that get vaccinated, the better," Whitmer told WWJ's Tom Jordan and Roberta Jasina. "As we go into the fall we want to make sure that everyone gets a flu shot. The less likely you are to be hospitalized for the flu, the more likely we'll have beds that are necessary in the event we don't have a vaccine for COVID-19. And so it's really going to be important that parents whose kids are not up to speed on immunization get their kids immunized right now. The more we can protect from other illnesses, the better for everyone. We want to keep people out of the hospitals, period. 

"These are important steps we're going to have to take until we have a COVID vaccine that is readily available. The conversation around a mandate doesn't make sense yet. It'll be awhile before we have a vaccine and then before it's produced en masse where we could have the ability to offer it to everyone."

The fourth of July holiday is around the corner, and the governor has said all along her hope was to reopen gyms and casinos by that date. She didn't weigh in on whether that's still a possibility, or if they'll even open in the month of July -- except to say 'it's always going to have to be driven by the numbers' --  but she did discuss what could happen if residents fail to follow social distancing and other guidelines over the holiday.

"The most important thing that we can all do to make sure that we take that next step is to keep wearing our masks ... and remember that we're always safer at home. But if you're out and about, wear that mask and wash your hands and try to stay six feet apart. That is how we keep the spread from happening. There are states that had to take a step backward and going back into lockdown. While we're not always unanimous on everything, I can predict we probably are unanimous in that none of us wants to go back into that posture. And that's why it's so important that everyone continues to do the right thing. Mask up, please."

Could another lockdown happen in Michigan? "I don't want to predict if that's likely or not, I can just tell you if people drop their guard and we see exponential growth, it increases the possibility that it might be necessary. That's why I'm asking people to please mask up. This is a holiday weekend, I know you're going to want to be out and about. Wear that mask. Get a beautiful patriotic one or make one. Public health is not a political question, it's about being smart and smart people wear masks. And we can do this."