By Bria Brown

(CBS DETROIT) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ranked Michigan among the worst in the nation for administering vaccines to health care workers, first responders and others who fall into the top priority for immunizations.

Michigan officials say they are doing what they can to encourage more vaccinations, but some front line workers are declining to be vaccinated, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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CDC data released Monday that showed there have been only six other states — Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina — that have vaccinated fewer people per capita.

The Detroit Free Press reports according to the state health department data as of Monday, Michigan received 520,150 doses of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines — only 27 percent of those vaccine doses had been administered. This means nearly 380,000 doses remain in freezers unused.

Michigan health officials told the Detroit Free Press, “launching mass vaccinations over the December holiday season created delays.”

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“Although it was appropriate to start vaccinations as soon as the vaccine was available, it has caused the rollout to be slower,” said Bob Wheaton, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Now, to help speed up the process of getting more vaccinated, state health officials say they are working with hospital and local health departments, offering to help with operational challenges and boosting staffing, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Wheaton says any organization in Michigan that receives COVID-19 vaccines has been told it must “aim to administer 90% of it within seven days of receipt.”

Wheaton also said the state health department has clarified the broad categories of health care workers that should be getting vaccinated and will continue to evaluate the overall strategy to increase vaccination numbers in the state.

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