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Detroit’s Ford Field to host mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic

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Washington – The Biden administration announced Friday that a federal government-operated mass vaccination facility would be set up in Detroit’s Ford Field on March 24th.

The football arena, home to the Detroit Lions, most recently served as the vaccination site for Meijer, who vaccinated Michigan educators and teachers at a two-day clinic last week.

The website, supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is Vaccinating 6,000 people a day, Andy Slavitt, Sr.The White House advisor on COVID response said at a briefing Friday.

The site will serve residents in further southeast Michigan and is expected to manage 5,000 shots per day on-site and an additional 1,000 days per day via a mobile option.

FEMA has pledged over $ 27.5 million and dispatched more than 25 federal workers to Michigan to support nationwide vaccination operations, the White House said.

Health officials toured the dome stadium last month. The site is administered by the state of Michigan with support from FEMA, as well as Wayne County, the City of Detroit, Ford Field, Meijer, Henry Ford Health Care System and the Lions, according to the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The website will be open for eight weeks from 8 a.m. to 8.30 p.m., seven days a week as part of the federal government’s vaccination pilot program.

The Ford Field website is not taking reservations yet, but Whitmer’s office announced that instructions on how to book an appointment will be announced in the next few days.

“I would like to thank President Biden and FEMA for the opportunity to build one of the first vaccination centers in the country for the entire Southeast Michigan region,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“Raising the vaccine distribution will also help our economy recover faster and save our small businesses that have been badly hit by the pandemic. Let’s get to work and get it done.”

FEMA opened its first COVID-19 mass vaccination centers last month in an effort to get into the arms of the Biden government faster and reach out to minority communities affected by the outbreak.

By Wednesday, federal officials had opened or ramped up 20 mass vaccination sites, 16 of which were operational, Slavitt said. The websites together delivered over 500,000 recordings.

The government plans to double the number of mass vaccination centers soon, including the one in Detroit, Slavitt said.

The mass vaccination sites are selected based on a framework designed to target vaccinations to those most at risk, federal officials say.

Ford Field in downtown Detroit was selected in part because it is known to residents of the city and subway area, is ADA accessible, and can accommodate 10,000 people at a time, with convenient access to parking and transit.

The White House also noted that COVID has hit southeast Michigan particularly hard, particularly among color communities.

“We must continue efforts like this to get Michigan vaccinated, including people of color and other vulnerable communities,” said US Representative Brenda Lawrence, a Southfield Democrat and a member of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparity.

“That includes fighting myths and building trust in the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

Berkley School District teaching assistant Sylvia Boyd from Detroit receives her COVID-19 vaccine from Meijer pharmacist Brittany Wilkinson.  Meijer will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Ford Field exclusively for educators and educational staff in Detroit, Michigan on March 1, 2021.

Detroit is the state hardest hit by the coronavirus, with over 30,600 confirmed cases and 1,857 virus-related deaths. It is also located in the state’s largest county, Wayne County.

“The most important thing we can do now as a community is to get as many people as possible vaccinated as soon as possible so our lives and economies can get back to normal,” said Mike Duggan, Detroit Mayor.

“The operation of this new mass vaccination center by FEMA will be a significant step towards this goal for our city and our region. We will work closely with FEMA and state officials to ensure that vaccines are distributed fairly. “

Michigan vaccinated over 1 million residents as of March 10, which is 12.5% ​​of the state’s population.

In a speech Thursday night, President Joe Biden said he was instructing all states and territories to qualify all adults for the vaccine no later than May 1. This is earlier than expected and reflects the government’s efforts to acquire millions more vaccines from manufacturers.

Michigan said Friday that it will extend vaccination eligibility to all Michiganians 16 and over from April 5.

The nation’s current seven-day average is 2.2 million shots a day, Slavitt said. “We are making progress, but there is still a lot to be done,” he said.

At Ford Field, the vaccine is free and no insurance is required.

Whitmer’s office said Michigan residents eligible to receive the vaccine under the State Health Department’s guidelines on vaccination prioritization can register for an appointment with Ford Field with reservations open.

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Dusty Kennedy