Eligible Southeast Michigan residents can schedule a vaccine at Ford Field today

A lot of vaccine news arrived Friday afternoon that had big implications for the federal government's rollout and placed Michigan in a prime position to treat its residents quickly.

From the federal government comes a mass vaccine site at Ford Field; the first of the pilot program that could take effect in other states as well. Shortly after that came plans to expand eligibility for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone over the age of 16 in the state.

The increase in availability will help push Michigan closer to its goal of 70% immunity. So far, 23.1% of the state has vaccination coverage.

America's first mass vaccine center

It was a priority tool from the CDC that helped the federal government decide on Ford Field. Its proximity to Detroit residents and the surrounding metro area meant it could reach millions of people, including many most vulnerable to COVID-19.

"Let's do this together. Get the vaccine so that we can come back and be that strong Detroit that we all know we are," said Rep. Brenda Lawrence. 

Lawrence was part of a slew of lawmakers that welcomed the news that Ford Field was selected as the country's first vaccination site. The center, which already went through a dry run when it hosted a Meijer-based vaccine clinic for teachers in February, will begin administering doses starting next week.

"We hope obviously to have fans here in the fall, but more importantly we hope to support our community and make sure that everyone is safe and healthy," said Jen McCollum, senior director of community relations for the Detroit Lions.

The center has the capacity to administer 6,000 shots a day and will be open for eight straight weeks from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The appointments can be scheduled today through Meijer.

Registration to schedule a vaccine appointment is live on the pharmacy's website. Learn more here

All adults eligible in April

If there's any indication about how many doses are going to be available in the coming weeks, it's the state health department telling residents that anyone over the age of 16 can schedule a shot beginning April 5.

Currently, one has to be age 50 and older with preconditions or work in one of the many essential jobs designated by the state. That could be health care, nursing homes, schools, grocery stores, or bus drivers.

By March 22, vaccine eligibility will be expanded to all Michiganders 50 and older.

"Over 2.7 million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccines have been administered in Michigan, and we are well on our way to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders age 16 and up," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, in a Friday release.

However, some cities like Detroit have expanded eligibility further. In Macomb County, anyone age 16 and up with a medical or mental disability is eligible. 

Scheduling a vaccine appointment

It might be tricky to keep up with the changing nature of COVID-19 and vaccine eligibilities. There's little chance of momentum not keeping up, either. 

For those that are eligible, you can find out more information about what's available on the state website here. There, residents can learn how to schedule a vaccine either by phone or over the Internet.

Not sure if you're eligible? While each city or county may have added more eligibilities like in Macomb County or Detroit, the state has established that anyone age 50 or older with pre-conditions can get a vaccine. People working in essential roles are also eligible for the vaccine. 

A guide provided by the state outlines the most recent estimate about when people can get the shot.


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