News Story

From ‘Until There Is A Vaccine’ To ‘Until We Are All Vaccinated’

Gov. Whitmer’s ever-moving target for normalcy

The state of Michigan issued a press release stating 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered here, so it's worth examining how Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's statements about vaccines have changed over the last 12 months.

For example, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services posted a Twitter meme Feb. 19 that read, “Until we all are vaccinated, we all need to wear a mask.” Whitmer retweeted it.

But the “until we all are vaccinated” formula was not used by Whitmer over the summer and fall, before vaccines became available. And there is a substantial difference between the earlier formula and the one she is using now.

Here are several examples from the governor’s press conferences of changes in the administration's official statements:

July 9: “What we’re trying to do is get people to do the right thing for the right reasons. And the right reasons are a mask is, without a vaccine, without a cure, a mask is the safest way to protect yourself from the spread of COVID-19, to protect your family from the spread of 19, to protect your neighbors and co-workers, and to protect our economy from another potential step backwards.”

Aug. 19: “We are all hoping for a safe and effective vaccine that will protect us from COVID-19 and allow our communities to get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Aug. 25: “Until there is a coronavirus vaccine, we must do everything we can in our power to protect one another. Nobody is immune to this virus.”

Oct. 6: “Until there is a vaccine that is widely available and has efficacy and is safe, or until we have better therapeutics, we are going to have to continue to mask up.”

The language “until we all are vaccinated” is different from “until there is a vaccine” and “until there is a vaccine that is widely available.”

On Nov. 23, state Health Department Spokeswomen Lynn Sutfin said, “At this time we do not have plans to mandate the vaccine.”

Whitmer’s office did not respond to an email on Feb. 25 asking if that policy had changed.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.