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Detroit opens walk-in COVID vaccination sites

Elaine Cromie
Bridge Michigan

Starting on Tuesday, Detroiters can walk in and get COVID-19 shots at eleven sites across the city, no appointment required.

Mayor Mike Duggan said it represents a shift in strategy as vaccine supply starts to exceed demand. Along with moving to walk-in access, Detroit is also starting to spread vaccine supply out more across the city.

Duggan said focusing the city’s efforts on the TCF Center mass vaccination site worked well in the beginning, but he hopes convenient walk-in access will now get more people vaccinated, especially younger people.

“And so we are going to now start to shift,” Duggan said. “If people have made a decision not to get a vaccine, that’s one choice. But I want to make sure in the city of Detroit, every single person who wants a vaccine has access.”

Currently, only about 10% of Detroiters under age 30 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number rises to 26% for ages 30-64, and 56% of Detroiters over age 65 have received one.

“We know so far that they [younger people] have not been as inclined to call up and schedule an appointment, but it’s important to hold down the spread in this community,” Duggan said. “So all I can do is make it as accessible as possible.”

Overall, Detroit has the lowest vaccination coverage rateof any jurisdiction in the state.

On a related note, Duggan said he’s not surprised that few Detroiters have been vaccinated at Ford Field. That mass vaccination site was set up with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of Metro Detroit’s high levels of health inequities, as measured through the Social Vulnerability Index.

Duggan suggested the reason that only 7% of Ford Field shots have gone to Detroiters is because city residents had earlier and easier access to the TCF Center. He said he “never believed for a second” that Ford Field would be widely used by Detroiters.

The suburbanites who couldn't get [vaccines] in their home came to Ford Field,” Duggan said. “Everybody knew from the beginning that Ford Field was going to be a predominantly suburban site.

“So Ford Field came out exactly the way I thought. It reduced a huge backlog of people looking for vaccines in the suburbs, which is good for everybody in southeastern Michigan.”

A list of Detroit’s walk-in vaccination sites and their hours can be foundhere.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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