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Duggan announces COVID-19 booster shots, new Detroit development officer

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — COVID-19 booster shots are available at all city of Detroit vaccination sites as of Wednesday, Mayor Mike Duggan announced. 

The city's vaccine clinics will offer the FDA-approved Pfizer booster shot to the immunocompromised, those 65 and older, and "residents whose occupation puts them at increased risk of the virus," the city noted. 

"There is going to be no bureaucracy in your way in the city of Detroit," Duggan said. 

Since March 2020, Detroit has recorded 56,743 cases of COVID-19 and 2,373 deaths from the virus.

People need to be more than six months from their last shot to get the booster.

As of Tuesday, 44.7% of the city's 12 and older population had received at least one vaccine dose.

That puts Detroit far behind suburban Wayne and Washtenaw counties at 70%, Macomb County at 61.3% and Oakland County at 72.2%.

"We started to see that at six months (the protection of the vaccine) started to drop off," Duggan said at a Wednesday press conference at Detroit public safety headquarters.

"Two months from today is Thanksgiving," Duggan said. "We could lose another holiday with our families.

"In all likelihood, COVID is going to be running through southeast Michigan in a few months," Duggan said. 

Duggan said city employees are required to either be vaccinated or test weekly for the virus, in line with federal regulations. He said the city would issue no vaccine mandate.

"Mandates need to come from the state," Duggan said. "We're not creating our own set of rules."

Oakland County's Health Division noted Wednesday that it is focused on limiting transmission of the virus by offering first, second and third doses of COVID-19 vaccines alongside the Pfizer booster dose. 

Nearly 293,000 of eligible Oakland County residents remain unvaccinated, at least 47,000 of whom are 12-19 years old, the county noted Wednesday.

Of the more than 4,300 new cases in Oakland County from Sept. 6-19, 57.7% of the new cases were 39 years old or younger. Residents who are 18 years old or younger accounted for 26% of the new cases. Oakland County’s seven-day confirmed case average is currently 244 new cases per day.

Wayne County began offering booster shots about a month ago. 

Smoot announced as chief development officer

Duggan on Wednesday also announced Julianna Smoot, lead fundraiser on the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign and White House Social Secretary under President Obama, will serve as Detroit's Chief Development Officer.

"We wanted somebody of national stature, who can walk into the largest charities in America and be immediately welcomed," Duggan said. "As far as I was concerned, there was only one choice."

Among the targets of the city's fundraising push are home repair funds for Detroiters, infrastructure upgrades, and pre-Kindergarten and after-school programming, the city said.

Duggan said he and Jay Rising, the city's Chief Financial Officer, approached Smoot about the opportunity.

 "We said, 'is there a point at which instead of spreading yourself across a lot of projects across America, you could devote your energies to finishing the job of rebuilding the city?'" Duggan recalled.

The answer was yes. Smoot officially started Tuesday.

"I've spent my life reaching out to national folks working at the national level, which has been fun," Smoot said. "But I'm excited to work with this team, and as a Detroiter myself now, to make, to create a world-class city — which I already think it is — help my fellow Detroiters make a better place for their families."