Last chance to get your COVID-19 vaccine at Ford Field; Detroit mass vaccine center to end operations

Federal operations in Detroit will be coming to an end at Ford Field Monday as the state's mass vaccine center will wrap up its final day of administering shots. 

The FEMA-run site has given out more than 240,000 vaccine doses that helped inoculate a good chunk of the Metro Detroit population last April.

The center's final day will still be offering both first and second-dose shots to anyone who has an appointment or walks in. However, people getting their first shot on Monday will need to get their second dose somewhere else. 

April was the state's most efficient and productive month for vaccinations in Michigan and helped clear the way for providing vaccine coverage for half the state by the time May rolled around. 

Ford Field began offering services around the same time almost everyone in Michigan became eligible for the vaccine. 

According to data from the health department's vaccine dashboard, Ford Field distributed the fourth-most shots in the state. 

The groups behind the mass vaccine center will hold a virtual press conference later Monday morning to discuss findings from a statewide survey about vaccine perceptions as well as results from the last eight weeks.

And many walking out of the center felt a sense of relief about securing protection against COVID-19. 

"Going around the grandkids and people and barbeques and picnics - stuff like that," said one Detroiter. "Especially going to Belle Isle like we used to all the time."

But it wasn't just an unusual time for the people getting their shots - but for those administering them as well.

"Usually when we deploy, we go overseas to other nations and support them so coming here to Detroit in some instances was not very far of deployment, it wasn't something we had ever done before," said Ben Crandell, director of operations at Ford Field.

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"For me, as well as the service members that we have here, it’s an amazing team coming together as we did with a very short notice. Being able to provide the service for the people of Detroit and Michigan has been an amazing opportunity, and I am very very thankful to be a part of it," says Shay Edwards of the National Guard.

The mass vaccine site delivered between 5,000 and 7,000 shots a day throughout its operations. 

And as it opened when everyone became eligible, it is closing as Michigan is stopped enforcing its mask mandate for vaccinated people - some of the clearest symbols that Michigan is emerging from the pandemic.