The initiative, announced last week, is a redoubling of effort to improve access to the coronavirus vaccine for residents that are both vulnerable to COVID-19 and struggle with face systemic challenges preventing them from getting the shot.
Currently, Detroit is struggling to keep pace with vaccine coverage, compared to the rest of the state. Only 36.2% of its residents have received at least one dose. That's 25% less than outer Wayne County and the rest of the state.
The homebound vaccine campaign is made up of 150 teams that will get in touch with households in the city and offer to vaccinate those residents and any other member of the household that has not yet gotten the shot.
"In Detroit, we have built a vaccination strategy that meets people where they are, specifically in the neighborhoods, at parks and other gathering sites, to reach as many people as we can," said Chief Public Health Officer, Denise Fair.
Fair's team is partnering with several organizations like The Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Wayne Health, Maternal Infant Health Program Providers, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
"We know the homebound senior population better than any other organization in this community, so we had to step up when the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out did not immediately address the needs of homebound seniors," said Ronald Taylor, President, and CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging.
Detroit has attempted neighborhood-based vaccine campaigns before. Months ago, the city spent a week at different community centers in each of its districts, where health officials were administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
However, interest in the campaign was swept away after the federal government put a pause on J&J vaccines over the potential connection the shot had to blood clots. While the move is not abnormal of the Food and Drug Administration to pause the rollout to further study side effects, the decision had a compounding effect on vaccine hesitancy.
The homebound vaccine campaign is made up of 150 teams that will get in touch with households in the city and offer to vaccinate those residents and any other member of the household that has not yet gotten the shot
The city pivoted to offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in response.
Yet, the city has still struggled to improve its coverage. Skepticism about getting the shot is different around the state. While Black Detroiters recall historic inequities and racism in the medical field, other groups have other reasons to distrust.