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Metro Detroit couple drives to Mississippi in attempt to get COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 11:21 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 23:21:04-05

(WXYZ) — A Michigan couple desperate to get the COVID-19 vaccine traveled 14 hours to Mississippi. But, when winter storms blew through the south last week, their appointment was canceled because the doses didn’t arrive.

Jodi and David Schumaker live in Independence Township. They’ve been trying to get the vaccine shot since it came out. The couple even drove more than 900 miles just to try and get it.

“Pretty much, in my mind, I’m sure that if I get this virus with all the health issues I have and have had, I will probably not survive,” said David Schumaker.

David is 60-years-old, he has serious underlying health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and is a paraplegic, but David doesn’t fall into the state's vaccine distribution phases right now.

“I don’t think 1C should be put out the way it is in that. But if you’re 55 to 60-years-old and you have multiple health conditions, they should have moved that up, I think, closer to the front of the line,” said David.

Jodi wakes up every morning looking for an appointment for her husband. She found a location. However, it was at a Walmart in Mississippi, more than 14 hours away and 986 miles. A trip Jodi says they were willing to make.

“I have asked people if you just have one spot available will you just put my husband on it. But, if anything I’m ready to go to bed at night knowing my husband is not going to die,” said Jodi.

But, because of the winter storms that blew through the south. The doses Walmart was supposed to receive never came.

“Until someone has stuck a needle in his arm, I’m not, we’re not holding our breathe for anything because we thought we had a chance in Mississippi and we were turned around,” said Jodi.

But good news is on the horizon. Vaccine advisors for the FDA have recommended emergency use authorization for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. If the FDA approves the use, it will be the third vaccine in the US and the only single-dose vaccine, making it easier for distribution.

Michigan is also playing a big role. Grand River Aseptic manufacturing in Grand Rapids is one of three locations the Johnson and johnson vaccine will be produced.

“I’m starting to feel less anxious all the time, and I know she’s worked so hard to find me spots to get on lists and whatnot and I think at some point there will be in the next week or two. I should be able to get a shot, I think so,” said David.

The Schumakers say they’re on countless waiting lists but say, like many other people, just want the shot.

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