The City of Detroit is rolling out the early part of its coronavirus vaccination plan, which prioritizes access for critical city workers and the elderly.
Starting today, critical city employees including D-DOT drivers and police officers will be able to get vaccinated if they want to. On Monday, the city will begin scheduling drive-thru inoculations for Group B essential workers (which includes K-12 teachers and childcare workers) and senior citizens 75-years or older at TCF Center, with appointments beginning Wednesday.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says health officials will make sure they vaccinate the most vulnerable as well. “Over the next six weeks, they are going to be on site delivering vaccines at all 29 homeless shelters and all 60 senior citizen apartments,” says Duggan.
The city is urging neighbors to give each other rides in order to increase access to vaccinations and keep the number of cars down at TCF Center. “If you have a good neighbor, who’s willing to drive you - because not everybody who’s 75 has a car - and not everybody’s able to drive. If you have somebody who’s over 65, they’ll drive you, they can get a vaccine at the same time,” says Duggan.
Residents who have scheduled a vaccination appointment will show up early and pull up to the TCF Center garage entrance along Atwater Street.
“You’re going to come in where Joe Louis arena used to be. Come right down on the river, but it’s going to be inside the parking garage, you’re not going to get out of your car,” says Duggan.
Vaccine Doses Are Limited
According to Duggan, the city has been given 20,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine by state health officials. Duggan says the city is coordinating the rollout with Governor Gretchen Whitmer and that the city will expand the people eligible to be vaccinated if more vaccines are allocated from the state.
“We will ramp up as fast as the federal government sends us vaccines. We think we can do three, four or 5,000 a day (at TCF Center) if the vaccines are delivered,” says Duggan.
Yesterday, Whitmer and several other Democratic governors wrote a letter to US Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, asking him to release millions more doses of the vaccine. The letter says the doses are being held up for “unknown reasons.”
Duggan says the city has some work to do since its surveys show about 200,000 residents want to get the vaccine right away.
“40% of Detroiters think they should get it, but they don’t want to be in the first wave,” says Duggan. ”And about 20% (about 100,000) are never going to get it because they don’t trust anything that has been said.”
Vaccines will be administered by appointment only. Individuals can book an appointment by calling 313-230-0505.