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Drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations begin at Detroit's TCF Center

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed
Michigan Radio

Detroit launched its first major COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday at a drive-thru clinic set up in the garage of the TCF Center. City health officials made 400 appointments for Detroit seniors, teachers, and childcare providers.

“I'm an active person,” said Francena Dudely, an 87-year-old lifelong Detroiter, who was among those vaccinated. “I want to be able to get out a little bit and even if I still have to wear a mask, I will feel more comfortable.”

Dudley said she misses being able to travel and go to casinos, but that she’ll maintain social distancing practices until more people are vaccinated. After receiving a first dose of the vaccine, medical workers asked her to wait in her wait for 15 minutes to ensure she was alright. They then sent her off with a round of gloved-hands applause.

“Everyone’s excited, we’re clapping, we’re cheering people on,” said Nancy Hauff, a registered nurse who volunteered to be a part of the vaccination campaign. “This is a great first step to protecting the city of Detroit so we can move forward.”

While Hauff said the days’ round of vaccinations went smoothly, some noted long wait times and dropped calls when they called the city health department to make their appointments. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has said he expects to vaccinate 20,000 residents over the next four weeks.

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Beenish Ahmed is Michigan Public's Criminal Justice reporter. Since 2016, she has been a reporter for WNYC Public Radio in New York and also a freelance journalist. Her stories have appeared on NPR, as well as in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, VICE and The Daily Beast.
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