Duggan lowers age limit for Detroit residents eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday lowered the age of residents eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and said two other classes of essential workers, clergy and mortuary workers, can now be inoculated. 

The mayor said by next week he hopes to lower the threshold to those ages 65 and up, but said a shortage of doses is preventing that from happening sooner.

"What we are trying to do is protect the most vulnerable," Duggan said during a Thursday news conference. 

Duggan stressed earlier this week that vaccinations in Detroit will continue despite a shortfall that put Michigan behind by 50,000 anticipated doses.

As of Thursday, Detroit has received 10,850 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The city has administered 8,959 doses so far, the mayor said. The city is vaccinating 1,300 people per day.

"We are not sitting on them," Duggan said. "We are going in order of risk as fast as vaccines show up."

On Tuesday, the city extended vaccine eligibility to federal and state workers who are working in the city.

Others already eligible before Thursday are any "good neighbor" drivers, 65 or older, who accompanies residents age 68 and up to the center, a higher age threshold than elsewhere in Michigan. Essential workers including K-12 teachers and childcare workers are also eligible.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lowered the age limit for vaccine eligibility to 65 earlier this month but the state hasn't been able to give hospitals and health departments as many doses as they say they need.

Duggan said Thursday he's pleased to hear President Joe Biden has committed to speeding up the distribution of vaccines and providing support to cities to establish mass vaccination sites, such as Detroit’s TCF center.

“At last, we are seeing a true national strategy to deal with this 10-month old COVID crisis," he said. "I hope Congress moves quickly on this proposal so we can put this virus behind us."

Eligible Detroit residents and front-line workers can schedule appointments at the TCF Center garage by calling (313) 230-0505.