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Ford Field vaccine site closes as state pivots to "hyperlocal" outreach

Three U.S. Airmen in camo standing in front of a bunch of people seated in chairs spaced out six feet apart.
Tyler Scott

As the mass vaccination in the heart of Detroit at Ford Field closes down, state officials leading Michigan’s COVID vaccine campaign are switching their focus to hyper-local in-person efforts to get more people inoculated.

70% of respondents in a new statewide survey commissioned by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported they either are already vaccinated or have plans to get their shot.  

“There is however some strong resistance among those not yet vaccinated,” said Kerry Ebersole-Singh, Director of the Protect Michigan Commission leading the states vaccine campaign.

“Of the unvaccinated group, two in three [respondents] expressed rejection of the vaccine, and one in three expressed openness to get the vaccine under some circumstances,” Ebersole-Singh said.

The Protect Michigan Commission will be transitioning to prioritize hyperlocal community outreach to engage unvaccinated Michiganders. Ebersole-Singh says that will mean more partnerships between the state and Michigan non-profits, and lots of in-person door-knocking in neighborhoods where the vaccination rate is low, and census tracts that score high in Michigan’s Social Vulnerability Index.

The state of Michigan managed the Ford Field site with support from FEMA, Meijer, Henry Ford Health system and other partners over the eight weeks the site was scheduled to be in operation. Ford Field was selected by the CDC to help those hardest hit by and most vulnerable to the pandemic.  

Singh says the Ford Field site administered more than 275,000 vaccine doses. Residents from Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties (including the city of Detroit) in southeast Michigan accounted for 95% of the doses administered at Ford Field.

Dr. Steven Rockoff, who served as Medical Director of the Ford Field mass vaccination site, expressed gratitude and appreciation for the collaborative effort.

“From the time we opened the doors at eight in the morning ‘till we closed the doors many nights at 8:30, seven days a week, our process was extraordinarily efficient, seamless and safe,” Rockoff said. “Many times, the time from when our patients checked in to when they received their vaccine was under ten minutes.”

Ford Field will welcome people with appointments and walk-ups for vaccines through 8:30 Monday night.

As of Friday, 49.9% of Michigan’s estimated population ages 12 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. More than 56% of Michiganders age 16 or older have received at least one dose, meeting a state-issued benchmark to allow the return to in-person working offices beginning May 24.  

New coronavirus cases reported daily in Michigan have been steadily declining for more than a month.

Tyler Scott is the weekend afternoon host at Michigan Public, though you can often hear him filling in at other times during the week. Tyler started in radio at age 18, as a board operator at WMLM 1520AM in Alma, Michigan, where he later became host of The Morning Show.
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