Detroit expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility again

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
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Detroit — The city expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility Friday to include all residents ages 60 and older regardless of any medical condition after a successful week, its chief operating officer said.

After the city expanded its "Good Neighbors" program Wednesday, more than 700 appointments have been scheduled at the TCF Center garage, the city said. This week was the first time the city expanded vaccinations to Metro Detroiters age 55 or older if they drove a senior city resident.

COO Hakim Berry said that the call center has received hundreds of calls from "Good Neighbors" each day. The city had been encouraging "Good Neighbors" who lived in the city to bring older residents for the last several weeks before expanding to Metro Detroit residents. It was not immediately clear how many of 700 appointments were from outside Detroit.

"The Good Neighbor program is proving to be incredibly popular and we are grateful to all of the individuals who have stepped up to make sure Detroit seniors are able to get to TCF to receive their vaccination," Berry said in a press release. "Detroit is a city where neighbors look out for neighbors and this is another great example of that at a time we all need each other the most."  

Chronic medical conditions had been a requirement for a Detroit resident age 60 and older to schedule a vaccine appointment.

As of Friday morning, the city has administered 82,000 doses, nearly half of them to people 60 and older. Another 50,000 appointments are scheduled.

The city is also offering Senior Saturday vaccinations by appointment from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Grace Community Church at 21001 Moross Road through March 20
  • Kemeny Recreation Center at 2260 S. Fort Street through March 20
  • Fellowship Chapel at 7707 W. Outer Drive through March 6
  • Second Ebenezer Church at 14601 Dequindre through March 6

Eligible residents can call (313) 230-0505 to schedule their appointment for the TCF Center or any of the four Senior Saturdays locations.

The city plans to offer between 500 to 2,000 doses at each Senior Saturday event and is offering $2 rides for Detroiters who need transportation. Rides are wheelchair accessible and must be scheduled 24 hours in advance of the appointment by calling the center at (313) 230-0505.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said this week the city has been making enough progress with its 15,000 weekly doses of the vaccine to boost access. He said there's a chance that by April that Detroit could vaccinate all residents who have a high risk of dying from the coronavirus and want the vaccine. Duggan said he expects the city to give out 25,000 doses next week between first and second shots.

On Monday, The Detroit News reported that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are eyeing Ford Field for a mass vaccination site that could open next month in downtown Detroit.

Duggan said that FEMA, the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit are in talks over the opportunity for a major regional vaccination site to serve southeast Michigan. He said he's leaving it to FEMA to disclose additional details.

The full list of eligible individuals who can schedule appointments at TCF now includes:

  • Good Neighbors age 55 or older, regardless of residency, if they drive an eligible Detroiter 60 or older. Appointments must be made at the same time.
  • Detroit residents 60 or older, regardless of health conditions.
  • Food service workers living or working in Detroit
  • K-12 employees and caregivers.
  • Security guards, janitors and U.S. Postal Service employees living or working in the city.
  • Employees of city-related agencies who are working from their regular job sites.
  • Members of the clergy and funeral home employees.
  • Healthcare workers and members of the city's disabled community 18 and older.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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