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Detroit to get more vaccine doses, expands eligibility

Flickr Creative Commons/Sanofi Pasteur

Detroit will start getting a larger COVID-19 vaccine allotment starting next week, Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Thursday.

The city will start getting nearly triple the number of doses it had been receiving—15,000 first doses per week.

Duggan said the city has the infrastructure to vaccinate many more people at the TCF Convention Center. The problem was vaccine supply. Duggan said he told state leaders if that increased, the city has the capacity to deliver shots.

“We need 15,000 doses a week coming directly to the Detroit Health Department. And we will get them into the arms of Detroiters,” Duggan said. “And I’m really pleased that starting next week, we have that allocation.”

Duggan said this should help alleviate a disparity: that so far, around 8% of people have been vaccinated, while in Detroit, the number is around 3%. He said it’s not a demand issue: the city has 10,000 appointments booked at the TCF Center through the next month. Instead, Duggan said the disparity is more likely due to the fact that hospitals have been booking appointments through electronic medical records, and Detroiters are less likely to have internet access and a primary care physician.

The additional vaccine doses will also allow the city to take more vaccines directly to its most vulnerable populations, said chief public health officer Denise Fair.

“Beginning next week, we will now vaccinate 1,000 per week, again at the senior apartments as well as our homeless shelters,” Fair said. “This is up from 560 the previous week.”

Starting next week, all Detroiters aged 65 and older can book appointments at the TCF Center. Other people who are eligible to get vaccinated there include K-12 educators and support staff; postal employees; state and federal law enforcement working in Detroit; funeral home workers; and health workers who work in non-hospital settings.

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Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio 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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