As federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic ramps up with a mass vaccination site set to open at Ford Field this month, Michigan is expanding access to all residents.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Ford Field will operate as a mass vaccination site with the capacity to administer 6,000 vaccine doses per day for eight weeks starting March 24 to expedite the vaccination distribution in southeast Michigan.
“The administration will more than double the number of federally run mass vaccination centers to ensure that we reach those hardest-hit communities.” -Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator
The site will operate from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program. Southeast Michigan was selected as a community vaccination site by the Biden Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients says the stadium is part of President Joe Biden’s plan to take on the pandemic.
“The administration will more than double the number of federally run mass vaccination centers to ensure that we reach those hardest-hit communities,” says Zients.
Zients says the FEMA will manage the Ford Field vaccination effort in coordination with local government.
State health officials have set a goal to inoculate 70% of Michigan adults by the end of the year. According to state data, more than 23% of adults have been vaccinated as of Friday.
Detroit Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair says the city is giving residents different options to get the treatment outside of the football stadium.
“They can come to the TCF Center, they can go to one of the major ‘Senior Saturdays,’ they can go to pop-ups,” she says.
State Expands Eligibility Requirements
All Michigan residents over the age of 16 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 5, Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Friday. Michiganders 16 and older with disabilities or medical conditions that put them at elevated risk of COVID-19 are eligible for vaccination beginning March 22.
“The safe COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family and others from the virus,” said Whitmer in a statement.
Expanding access to the vaccine to the general adult population on April 5 puts Michigan nearly a month ahead of Biden’s directive all Americans will be eligible to get a vaccine by May 1, an objective he shared in an address delivered on Thursday night marking the one-year anniversary of the pandemic.
While supplies of the vaccines are increasing, limited amounts of the vaccine are available. This means all eligible individuals will be able to “get in line” for their appointments starting April 5, but it’s anticipated that it may take several weeks beyond that date for everyone interested in receiving a vaccine to actually get an appointment.