The City of Detroit began COVID-19 vaccinations on Wednesday at TCF Center downtown. Residents are receiving their shots while sitting in their cars in a heated parking structure.
“I think not getting it is more dangerous” says Marilyn Robinson, of the vaccine.
K-12 teachers, childcare workers, and residents over the age of 75 are eligible for an inoculation. Residents 65 and up can also receive the vaccine if they drive a neighbor over the age of 75. Appointments must be made by calling 313-230-0505.
Click on the audio player above to hear from Detroiters waiting to get vaccinated at TCF Center.
Marilyn Robinson arrived at the facility wearing a bejeweled snowflake mask and a Detroit Lions shirt. Robinson says she’s not nervous about getting the vaccine.
“Well, I think not getting it is more dangerous, really,” says the eastsider, who celebrated her 89th birthday on Monday. “It’s either that or I’m gonna die and I’m not ready yet.”
The city, which is estimated to have a population of about 675,000 people, has access to 20,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses right now. Last week, it began vaccinating essential workers like police officers and bus drivers. On Monday when the city opened up a call center to schedule appointments for seniors, educators and childcare workers at TCF Center, the mayor says they received more than 100,000 calls.
Meda Chapman, 77, says she heard a busy signal 15 times, but she persevered because this is important to her.
“I think I would rather get the vaccination than get sick with the COVID virus. I’ve had several friends that came down with it. And one of them was in a hospital with all of the equipment and everything. But thank God he survived and he’s home now,” says Chapman.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the call center has improved since Monday.
“We were down to 17 minutes per appointment yesterday,” he says. “If you’re calling right now you’ll probably get an appointment on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.”
Duggan says with the current supply, appointments will be made through the first week of February. He says in the coming days he hopes the city will be able to lower the age limit to all residents over the age of 65, but right now they should refrain from trying to make an appointment unless they’re driving in an eligible neighbor.