Detroit Regional Chamber > Business Resources > COVID-19 > Gov. Whitmer Announces Bipartisan ‘Protect Michigan Commission’ to Educate Michiganders on COVID-19 Vaccine

Gov. Whitmer Announces Bipartisan ‘Protect Michigan Commission’ to Educate Michiganders on COVID-19 Vaccine

December 10, 2020

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Blake Griffin among bipartisan co-chairs. 

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-193 creating the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, educate the people of this state, and help protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents.

The Commission will be chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II; Former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun; Detroit Pistons player Blake Griffin; Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health; SER Metro CEO Eva Dewaelsche; Soumit Pendharkar, MHA, FACHE, Health Administrator for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese-Decker; and Jamie Brown, Registered Nurse and President of the Michigan Nurses Association. The commission will consist of at least 50 members that will represent the great diversity of our state.

The Protect Michigan Commission will serve in an advisory capacity to Gov. Whitmer and DHHS, and will, among other things, provide public leadership to elevate and reinforce the importance of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, identify barriers that may impede the acceptance of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by Michigan residents, including identifying areas or groups within this state that are likely to experience vaccine hesitancy, and develop an outreach action plan designed to overcome these barriers. The Commission must complete its work and submit a brief final report to the Governor by Dec. 31, 2021.

Currently, Pfizer and Moderna have submitted requests for emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Khaldun and her team at DHHS are developing a plan to distribute the vaccine in Michigan, with a focus on our most vulnerable populations, frontline workers, and educators. The initial groups to be vaccinated will be critical workers in our health care systems, including those working in hospitals, first responders, and more.

To apply to serve on the Protect Michigan Commission, visit and apply by Dec. 28th.