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Cities push to run their own vaccine clinics

Posted at 9:13 AM, Mar 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 10:01:32-05

(WXYZ) — As more vaccines are becoming available, cities across metro Detroit are taking matters into their own hands by starting their own vaccination clinics.

At Ford Community and Performance Arts Center in Dearborn, more than 20 stations are manned by Dearborn firefighters, giving out vaccines to seniors. The clinic does about 600 to 1,000 vaccinations a day but can handle up to 2,000.

“We’re kind of at the mercy of supply, but if we have vaccines we’ll be open,” said Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray.

As of Saturday night, only about 500 appointments were booked for Sunday, March 7, meaning they have space for roughly 1,500 more. Walk-ins are available from 10 a.m. until noon.

The vaccinations are for residents 65 and older who live in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Redford, Allen Park, Garden City or Melvindale.

Appointments are encouraged and can be made online at: https://www.cityofdearborn.org/covid.

“We want to make it flexible so we get as many seniors as possible,” Chief Murray said.

It’s one of many clinics run almost entirely by a city. Livonia has been operating one for a few weeks, and another is coming soon in Sterling Heights.

“We have people from Parks and Rec, city administration, police department, everybody is coming together to try and push this,” said Edwin Miller, assistant fire chief with the Sterling Heights Fire Department.

The city is turning an old Sears auto service center near Lakeside Mall into a drive-thru clinic. They’ve been approved to receive vaccines directly from the state, with the fire department giving the shots.

“Part of our job as firefighters is to be a paramedic too," Miller said. "We’re trained to do this. We are a workforce that is ready to go along with every part of the health care system.”

Their clinic won't be ready until Phase 2 of Michigan's reopening plan, which is likely sometime in April. For now, these cities are doing what they can to get their seniors protected.

"We've had a number of seniors just crying they’re so happy to receive the vaccine," Chief Murray said. "It really makes us feel good and it’s a great program.”

The clinic in Dearborn normally operates Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.