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Many metro Detroiters still struggle to get COVID-19 vaccine despite being in initial age group

Posted at 5:25 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 07:39:25-05

Michigan state health officials say they've identified the first case of the South African COVID-19 variant in Jackson County, and on Tuesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is expected to announce a new vaccination site where the Johnson & Johnson dose will be administered.

The announcement comes as many metro Detroiters still struggle to get a COVID-19 vaccine despite being eligible.

Kathryn Woodman lost both of her parents to COVID-19, a week apart. Now, the Macomb County resident said she knows what it's like to get past the barrier of scheduling an appointment for her COVID-19 vaccine.

She's in one of the initial eligible groups at 65+ as it continues to expands.

Our Brian Abel pressed Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist on the matter.

"Whether it'd be hanging out on the phone for two hours or hitting refresh on a computer, and there was a lot of folks that were in the previous eligibility group that still haven't been vaccinated yet we're still opening it up to more. So how do we reconcile that, how can we be offering that to the 50+ when the 65+ plus, not everybody that wants to, is still vaccinated?" he asked.

"Well, we haven't declared anyone ineligible from getting a vaccine. So everyone can still sign up to get appointments who was previously eligible. We encourage people to do that," Gilchrist responded.

Gilchrist also suggested calling every place that offers the vaccine, from your local health department to Meijer. The state is also working with the Biden-Harris administration to secure more doses.

"We need to open up every avenue of vaccine for everyone who wants one and that's what we're working to do right now," Gilchrist said.

Duggan said the supply of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are keeping up with demand. He's preparing to announce the new site where the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered after initially declining doses last week until they are absolutely needed.

"I am looking forward to receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the next allocation. Apparently, I did not say that clearly enough yesterday, but it was what I intended to say and it's what we are doing," Duggan said.

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