After weeks of preparation and negotiations between several public and private agencies, America's first mass vaccine clinic opened at 8 a.m. today.
"(It's) amazingly important to have sites like this in our community, especially in communities of color and vulnerable communities, so we can reach those that may be hesitant or have concerns about the vaccine," said Dr. Usamah Mossallam, a Henry Ford Health Systems medical director.
Why Ford Field?
Ford Field was selected for its proximity to so many people, particularly underserved people. While vaccine rates in Southeast Michigan are rising steadily, communities like Detroit are still well behind the average.
Currently, only 16% of Detroit has gotten covered, while the rest of Wayne and Oakland County have vaccinated more than 30% of their residents.
The city and state hope to change that over the next eight weeks when medical staff administers 335,000 doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"That's really important to get us to our 70% magic number for herd immunity," said Mossallam.
In addition to the 600,000-plus people that live in Detroit, Ford Field will also service any of the millions that live in the greater Metro Detroit area.
Who gets vaccinated first?
By early April, the eligibility restrictions will be essentially lifted on Michigan residents as the state plans to open access up to anyone over the age of 16.
Currently, people 50 and older and those 16 and older with comorbidities can register and get a vaccine.
However, who gets to go first among those that are eligible will be based on the CDC's social vulnerability index, which is assessed when someone registers online.
A person's background, where they live, their minority and economic status, thier health conditions, and a host of other factors go into determining the SVI. After Michigan vaccinated most of its health care employees, it transitioned to a similar format.
So far, 29% of the state has received some kind of vaccine coverage, a little more than the national average of 25%, according to the CDC.
State data on vaccine rates report that 5.5% of all doses administered have gone to Black people, despite them making up 14% of the state's population.
How to sign up
Vaccine supplies are steadily increasing, and so are the number of ways one can get a shot. For those that want it at Ford Field, they'll be doing it through Meijer, which is tasked with scheduling appointments.
There are two main ways to sign up:
- Head to clinic.meijer.com/register/CL0034 to register online
- Text EndCOVID to 75049 and select the Ford Field location.
No insurance is required for those that arrive.
The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week.