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Detroit pushes to get more seniors vaccinated, as new COVID variant found in city

Mayor Mike Duggan says the city is expanding options for Detroitersover age 65 to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Duggan says the city will be providing low-cost or no cost rides to a vaccination clinic at the TCF center.  And for the next four Saturdays, the mayor says the city will be providing special vaccination clinics just for seniors. Duggan hopes a thousand seniors will sign up to get vaccinated at two large Detroit churches this weekend.   

“We want to make sure that those who feel they are shut in that they may have been forgotten, we haven’t forgotten you,” says Duggan. “We now have the ability to give you personal service.”

More than 70% of the lives claimed by COVID-19 in Detroit since the start of the pandemic were 65 years old or older.  Of the 16 Detroiters who’ve died from the coronavirus in the past two weeks, 15 were senior citizens. 

Detroit’s push to get more older city residents vaccinated comes as Michigan’s largest city has recorded its first two cases of the UK variant of the coronavirus.

The variantspreads more easily, potentially putting more Detroiters at risk of catching COVID-19.

Duggan says health officials want to get ahead of the more contagious coronavirus variant.   

“Every place else this British variant has shown up, we’ve seen surges in infections and surges in hospitalizations,” says Duggan, “which means, we know that our seniors are even more at risk now than they were two weeks ago.”

Duggan says the city continues to struggle to get vaccine supplies. He’s calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Pres. Joe Biden to help. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.