University of Michigan's Big House repurposed for vaccine effort

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Hundreds of Michigan Medicine health care workers were slated to receive their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at Michigan Stadium.

The stadium known as the Big House has closed its gates to fans during the COVID-19 pandemic — and will now play a critical role in the vaccination effort, officials said. 

“We are committed to protecting critical health care infrastructure and those who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 first," incoming University of Michigan Health System President Dr. David Miller said in a press release.

Michigan Stadium is nearly empty before a B1G Ten football game in the fall of 2020.

"The Stadium site affords an opportunity to safely and efficiently scale up our ability to use all of the doses we are provided and ultimately save lives.” 

The vaccinations are available by appointment only for health workers and students prioritized to receive Michigan first vaccine doses because they come into direct contact with COVID-19 patients.

Under Phase 1A of Michigan's vaccine distribution plan, the health workers and students who are at greatest of contracting the virus, and residents and staff at long-term care facilities, have top priority for the vaccine. 

Michigan Medicine has already vaccinated nearly 7,000 of its highest risk health care workers, the health system said.  

When Phase 1A is complete, the university will coordinate with the state and local health agencies to move into Phase 1B, officials said. That phase will include people age 75 and older, and front line essential workers such as those who work for utilities or grocery stores.