DETROIT - The day that Detroit residents have waited for almost 10 months has finally arrived. Four-hundred people will be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine on the city's first day of administering treatment.
A city scarred by the virus that tore through it in its earliest weeks, it became one of America's earliest hotspots for infection and one of the starkest examples of the systemic inequality that Black people face vs. that of other demographics.
Beginning today, Detroit's oldest residents will travel to the TCF Center where they'll be prepped and poked with the Pfizer vaccine, the first of two doses. The injections begin at 9 a.m.
The city plans to gradually increase the number of vaccines it administers daily, with the supply of doses determining how many can be conducted. On Thursday, Duggan said they would inject 600 people with the vaccine. After that, 800.
The goal for the city is to be inoculating a thousand people a day with an objective of distributing 20,000 to seniors and essential workers within the next four weeks.
Duggan warned it would be several weeks before the treatment became available to people outside the 75-year-old eligibility.
But even jumping one of the largest hurdles to create a vaccine doesn't mean more problems aren't on the way. A lot of finger-pointing has followed a disruptive rollout of the vaccine. Promises of millions of doses of the treatment have become over-promises. And getting the public to trust the vaccine will be another barrier to overcome.
Ask Mayor Mike Duggan, and he lays the blame at the feet of the federal government.
"(They) botched this from the beginning. They promised there would be 20 million vaccines by the end of December and they got 3 million done," he said during a press conference Tuesday.
With only a fraction of available treatments, counties and cities have been forced to ration what they have, promising it to the elderly and essential workers - like teachers and cops.
If someone is 75 and wants a vaccine, they'll be the priority. After scheduling an appointment at the city's call center, they'll need an ID, a pen, something to write on, and a short-sleeve shirt to get their injection.
For most others, they'll need to be patient as production kicks into gear to manufacture more treatments.