What to know about who is now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Detroit

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday said adults whose job requires them to work in the city and Detroit residents who work in the city or suburbs are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The eligibility is for those who are required to report to work, not people who can work remotely. The city also expanded access to all Detroiters age 16 or older with disabilities or underlying health conditions, including caregivers and guardians.

The two groups — more than 400,000 people, comprise potentially the largest eligibility expansion by the city yet, depending on how many companies require employees to return, city spokesman John Roach said.

The city's health department staff will also conduct on-site vaccinations at any company that can have 100 or more employees present at the same time.

"I really think the city can be completely open again by the summer," Duggan said. "We have to act now."

For the next two weeks, Duggan said he's focused on those who have to return to work in the city.

“You work at any business in the city… it doesn’t matter. If your job puts you in contact with other people, you can call (313) 230-0505 and get an appointment this week,” Duggan said. “Or whether you’re a Detroiter that goes to a job in the suburb, you are eligible.”

A 2018 University of Michigan study found 65,715 Detroit residents and 177,800 non-residents work in the city, while 148,000 Detroiters work in the suburbs.

The eligibility expansion comes as the city is expecting to receive a large allocation of doses from the federal government in the coming days.

Denise Fair, the city’s chief public health officer, said the Detroit Health Department is awaiting confirmation as to when and how many doses it will receive in its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is expected in the next week. Once the shipment is confirmed, the city will launch a mass vaccination site at the Northwest Activities Center at 18100 Meyers Road by the end of the month, she said.

"We look forward to receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccines so we can provide our residents another highly effective vaccine. Detroiters will now have the option to select which vaccine they receive and where they receive it," Fair said.

Positivity rate climbing

The city's positivity rate more than doubled in the past 10 days as it approaches 200,000 doses administered.

"Detroit’s COVID-19 positivity rate jumped from 2.8% to 6.3%. Our numbers are going in the wrong direction," said Fair. "Even in terms of our hospitalizations, they are also increasing. Just a few weeks ago, we were at 69 hospitalized patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and now we’re up to 91. We are sounding the alarm."

Both issues mimic what is happening across the state. Michigan's COVID-19 test positivity hit 7.47% last week, a 10-week high. As of Monday, adult hospitalizations from the virus are at 1,404, a 50% increase from last week when there were 936 hospitalizations.

The state on Monday opened eligibility to all residents 50 and older and people 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities.

All Michigan residents age 16 and older become eligible for shots on April 5. President Joe Biden had asked states to open eligibility to all adults by May 1.

The city has had 31,544 confirmed cases of the virus, resulting in 1,864 deaths.

In Detroit, 15% of residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. That's compared to 27% in outer Wayne County, 23% in Macomb, 27% in Oakland, 29% in Washtenaw and 26% across Michigan.

The city has administered 85% of the 190,730 doses it's received and has nearly 50,000 appointments scheduled between the TCF Center, Senior Saturdays and satellite clinics arranged by the health department.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and a dozen members of Michigan’s congressional delegation toured the Ford Field mass vaccination clinic Monday as it prepares to open this week. The site will distribute 5,000 vaccines each day on-site and another 1,000 a day through mobile clinics for the next eight weeks.

As of Monday, Meijer has registered 110,000 people for the FEMA site. About 14,000 people have appointments scheduled and another 20,000 appointment invitations will be sent out by the end of the day, officials said.

The site is operating with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Henry Ford Health System is providing medical oversight.

How to book a vaccine appointment

To book an appointment at Ford Field, register online at clinic.meijer.com/register/CL2021. Text "EndCovid" to 75049 and select Ford Field as the location. Those unable to go online can call the MDHHS COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136 (press 1).

Any large employer able to line up at least 100 employees in advance can ask the Detroit Health Department to conduct on-site vaccinations by calling the Detroit Means Business call center at (844) 333-8249.

Senior Saturdays are now expanded to be called "Community Saturdays" for all eligible. Residents can call (313) 230-0505 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule appointments at either the TCF Center or Senior Saturday locations.

Appointments are available at the following locations:

  • Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC at 19190 Schaefer
  • New Providence Baptist at 18211 Plymouth
  • Galilee Baptist Church at 5251 E. Outer Drive
  • Great Faith Ministries International at 10735 Grand River at Oakman
  • Grace Community Church at 21001 Moross Road (Second dose only)
  • Kemeny Recreation Center at 2260 S. Fort Street (Second dose only)
  • Fellowship Chapel at 7707 W. Outer Drive (Second dose only)
  • Second Ebenezer Church at 14601 Dequindre (Second dose only)


Twitter: @SarahRahal_

Staff Writer Craig Mauger contributed