Detroit launches homebound COVID-19 vaccination outreach

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Detroit —The city said Wednesday it is launching a program to provide COVID-19 vaccines to home-bound residents as part of an effort to boost vaccination rates in Detroit.

An estimated 40,000 home-bound Detroiters can't make it to vaccination sites due to either age or disability, Ron Taylor, president and CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, said at a press conference. 

Ron Taylor, president and CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, said a new city program is attempting to vaccinate Detroit's estimated 40,000 home-bound residents.

"This really allows us to scale up our energies, our efforts, and also our resources to serve those individuals most vulnerable in our community," Taylor said.

Home-bound Detroiters can call a phone bank designated to make appointments. A uniformed nurse will come out to their home to vaccinate the home-bound individual and anyone else living in the household who is interested.

When setting up an appointment, residents can choose between the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The total length of the appointment will last between 30 and 45 minutes. 

The program is only being offered to Detroit residents, though Taylor said the DAAA has had stakeholders step up and make it possible for them to serve communities outside of the city limits. 

The new program is the latest in the city’s ongoing efforts to reach its most vulnerable populations by visiting homeless shelters, senior buildings and other assisted living facilities, as well as providing access for disabled residents and those without their own transportation and doing door-to-door outreach and education.   

“In Detroit, we have built a vaccination strategy that meets people where they are, specifically in the neighborhoods, at parks and other gathering sites, to reach as many people as we can,” said Denise Fair, the city's chief public health officer. “It is critical for us to get our home-bound residents vaccinated. ... We believe it is imperative to remove any barriers they have.”

As the state reaches nearly 60% of adults 16 and older with one dose, vaccination rates lag in Detroit.

Denise Fair, Detroit's chief public health officer.

About 36% of residents so far have received one dose, according to the city's COVID-19 dashboard. That's compared with 60% in outer-Wayne County, 53% in Macomb County and 64% in Oakland and Washtenaw counties.

The city has 51,186 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 2,243 deaths since March 2020.

The effort to vaccinate home-bound residents comes as Duggan joined a dozen mayors from cities across the country in a Month of Action to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

The "Mayor's Challenge" competition will determine which city can ramp up its vaccination rate the most by July 4. 

To ramp up vaccinations, the city is already is offering "good neighbor" $50 incentives and walk-up vaccination clinics at the TCF Center, Farewell Recreational Center, Northwest Activities Center and the Samaritan Center. No appointment is needed.

There's also multiple pop-up clinics in neighborhoods, schools, churches, community centers, grocery stores and parks. A full list can be found online at www.detroitmi.gov.

Canvassing teams also continue to go door-to-door to educate residents in areas where vaccination rates are low. The teams are expected to have reached all Detroit homes by the end of August.

The Detroit Health Department Mobile Unit is expected to pop up at Belle Isle and major city events including Flower Days every Tuesday at Eastern Market, Monroe Midway, Riverfront festivals and concerts.

The city also plans on targeting communities by hosting weekly town halls at barber shops, beauty salons, with youth athletic groups and with the disabled community.

Residents can find their nearest vaccine site by texting their address to (313) 217-3732.

srahal@detroitnews.com

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