Ford Field opens to deliver mass COVID-19 vaccinations in Detroit
Detroit – Ford Field’s mass COVID-19 vaccination opened on Wednesday with more than 14,000 scheduled appointments and an additional 122,000 people registered.
Over the next eight weeks, the site is expected to distribute 335,000 doses to hospitals, health departments and pharmacies in addition to the federal government allocation, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said last week.
Invitations were sent out to urge people to book a vaccine appointment. In the first four days, 14,000 appointments are planned, said spokesman Mike Nowlin.
“The focus is on trying to get into urban communities and get into the city of Detroit. Detroit was hit pretty hard during the first wave,” said Dr. Usamah (Sam) Mossallam of Henry Ford Health System, the medical director of the Ford Field Injection Center. “This is a way to just show people coming in. We’re in the middle of town trying to find people of color, find vulnerable populations, and reach out to the Latin American population.”
Registrants received a total of 36,000 invitations to book a time slot, 1,000 people declined, and crews are working their way through the 86,000 people who are still in registration, he said.
At least 5,000 doses are administered on site every day, and an additional 1,000 doses per day are distributed through mobile clinics that work with four local health departments.
The Pfizer vaccine will be offered for the first three weeks, and returning patients will also receive the second dose in the fourth, fifth, and sixth weeks of surgery. The website will be delivering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the past two weeks, officials said.
The appointments started at 6 a.m. when the patients went into the hall, entered the islands with the black curtains, and got off 30 minutes later.
“(Ford Field) is obviously an approved site. Typically, you need a large place that can accommodate (5,000) or 6,000 people or more,” said Mossallam, who supported vaccine research during the trials. “From that perspective, people know that having a place like this that is easy to spot is an important factor.”
The website is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Henry Ford Health System provides medical monitoring. It will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week through mid-May.
It is also in partnership with Meijer, the City of Detroit, Wayne County, and the Lions. At the request of FEMA, 220 Department of Defense medical and support personnel will be serving at Ford Field.
Eligible Residents who have already enrolled with Meijer must register a second time for Ford Field. Individuals who register can choose the first appointment available either at a store or at Ford Field.
Meijer plans to focus on sending these invitations to people based on the state’s Social Vulnerability Index to the most vulnerable in Detroit, the hardest-hit city in Michigan, as well as in Wayne, Macomb counties and vaccinate Oakland.
How to register
Any Michigan resident currently eligible to receive the vaccine according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine prioritization guidelines can complete an appointment registration form online at clinical.meijer.com/register/CL2021.
Eligible Residents can also send “EndCOVID” to 75049 and select the Ford Field location or call the Department of Health hotline at (888) 535-6136 and press 1. For those who cannot send text messages or cannot access the internet, the call center is open from 8 a.m. Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
After completing the forms, registered persons will receive an invitation by phone or text when it is their turn to make an appointment. Vaccine appointments are scheduled a few days in advance, officials said.
Residents aged 50 and over with illnesses as well as their carers and legal guardians of children with special needs are entitled with immediate effect.
From Monday, the vaccination entitlement extends to residents aged 16 and over with disabilities or illnesses. By April 5, the state expects to extend eligibility to all Michigan residents aged 16 and over.
Employee Ariana Taylor contributed to this