More than 300 additional Michigan National Guard soldiers are being assigned across the state to expand COVID vaccination and testing efforts, according to state officials.
The deployment is in response to the detection of the variant B.1.1.7. COVID strain found in a Wayne County man and among several people associated with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The deployment of the additional guard members which began Monday is an effort to assist the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments. The guard members will augment local health departments, as requested, in administering the vaccination in clinics in their respective areas, officials said.
B.1.1.7 spreads more easily between people, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months, explained Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDDHHS).