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How the City of Detroit continues to expand its vaccine eligibility plan

Posted at 5:26 AM, Mar 03, 2021

(WXYZ) — Another major vaccine eligibility expansion for the City of Detroit was announced Tuesday with the city now allowing manufacturing workers who live or work in the city to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This expansion comes on the heels of the city further expanding its 'Good Neighbor Program' to allow for people aged 55 and older in the suburbs to get their shot at TCF Center as long as they take a Detroiter who is at least 60 along with them.

“This has been running very smoothly," said Annette Moorehead of Detroit, getting her second dose of the vaccine along with her husband at TCF Center Tuesday.

“We’ve scheduled out for several weeks, it’s just a matter of looking at different ways to make sure access to the vaccines is available," said Hakim Berry, Chief Information Officer for the City of Detroit.

Many 7 Action News viewers want to know why eligibility keeps expanding in Detroit as some counties are still struggling with vaccine supply.

It's several factors; one of them Berry said, is Detroit's population.

“Besides our residents Detroit has some large employers so we have that responsibility that they are offered the opportunity to be vaccinated as well as they interact with Detroiters.”

Another aspect, is Detroit's mass vaccination site at TCF Center, which has the capacity to service 4,700 cars on a daily basis. As of Tuesday, Berry said 70,000 vaccinations were given at TCF alone.

Transportation for Detroit's seniors has been on challenge in getting shots in arms, Berry said, one of the reasons why the city further expanded the 'Good Neighbor' program.

And then there's the hospitals around metro Detroit, which received a bulk of doses from the state early on in the roll-out, to vaccine front-line healthcare workers.

“When the vaccine’s first rolled out the majority of them went to the healthcare systems," Berry told Action News. “That really knocked down a chunk of individuals around the counties however Detroit was just a little bit out of that loop there so that’s why we had to boost our efforts.”

The city pushed for more vaccines for its mass distribution site and its outreach sites on the weekends, there are now six of them.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the following doses have been distributed to these major jurisdiction in metro Detroit, which can include hospitals, health departments, and other federally qualified health systems, not just the counties themselves.

  • Macomb – 133,050
  • Oakland – 278,715
  • Wayne -123,445
  • City of Detroit Health Department jurisdiction – 202,165 doses

“They are doing a good job," said Detroit resident Terry Burke, also in line to her get her shot. "They’re ahead of the game," she said.

But when you look at the percentage of the population vaccinated, Detroit's just above 10% according to recent data from MDHHS, whereas Macomb County is 15.9%, Oakland County is 18.5%, and Washtenaw County is 20.1%.

The new Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the third vaccine approved by the FDA for Emergency Use, is the nation's first single-dose vaccine, whereas both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses.

It's unclear when exactly the Johnson and Johnson shot will be available at TCF Center. Berry said logistically it will require some changes in distribution flow due to it being a single dose, but expects it will be available sometime in the near future.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.