MICHIGAN – Beginning Monday, April 5, all Michiganders age 16 and up who were not previously eligible will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Governor Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced on Friday the state is expanding vaccination eligibility for Michiganders ages 16 and older with disabilities or medical conditions that put them at high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome beginning Monday, March 22. Then on April 5, all Michiganders age 16 and up will become eligible.
Based on President Biden’s directive that all adults should be eligible by May 1, and the state securing additional vaccines, Michigan has decided to move forward with allowing all Michiganders who were not previously eligible to get begin receiving a shot almost a month before that date.
Biden made the directive late Thursday, during his first prime-time address to the American public, shortly after signing a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, with $1400 direct payments to most adults.
The state says with the expanded vaccine eligibility, providers are still encouraged to schedule appointments and allocate vaccinations to residents based on highest risk, including older residents, essential workers, and frontline workers. The most recent vaccine prioritization guidelines can be found on Michigan’s COVID-19 website.
All vaccine providers may begin vaccinating the new priority group of 16-49 with medical conditions or disabilities by Monday, March 22. MDHHS is accelerating vaccination of these individuals due to concern around disparity in life expectancy and in an effort to remove barriers to vaccine access.
The state says that as providers are scheduling appointments, they should consider an individual’s risk of exposure due to their employment and their vulnerability to severe disease in determining how to schedule appointments. It is anticipated that it may still take several weeks beyond April 5 for everyone who wishes to receive a vaccine to have an appointment.
6000 shots a day, eight-week mass vaccine site soon at Ford Field
An eight-week mass vaccination site with the capacity to administer 6,000 doses each day will open on March 24 at Ford Field in Detroit to serve southeast Michigan.
The vaccine will be offered at no cost, and insurance is not required, nor will it be requested at the vaccination center. Any Michigan resident who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine under the MDHHS vaccine prioritization guidance will be able to register for an appointment. The site is not yet taking reservations, but specific instructions on how to book an appointment will be announced in the coming days.
The site, which was selected according to the CDC’s priority tool to help those hardest hit and most vulnerable, will operate from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week, for eight weeks under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program.
Vaccine doses administered at the Ford Field Mass Vaccination Site will be based on the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to vaccinate the state’s most vulnerable populations, and it will be in addition to Michigan’s regular statewide vaccine allotment.
First doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered at the site for the first three weeks of operation. Those vaccinated within that timeframe will be guaranteed a second dose during fourth, fifth and sixth weeks of operation. The brand of vaccine to be supplied during the final two weeks of the of the mass vaccination site has not yet been determined.
Free parking will be available at the vaccination site. For those who indicate, during the registration process, they need assistance obtaining transportation to and from the vaccination site, the state is working to provide free of charge ride share options.
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, welcomed an announcement from the White House that federal funds he led the charge to secure as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act, will be directed to a vaccination clinic at Ford Field. The site will be operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Vaccine distribution has rapidly increased under the Biden Administration and it’s critical we keep our foot on the gas to ensure Michiganders can get vaccines as soon as possible,” said Senator Peters. “I am thrilled that the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act will deliver resources—that I secured—directly to the federal vaccination program at Ford Field. There is no question this historic legislation will continue to provide the help needed to get Michigan past this pandemic, and I will continue my efforts to ensure vaccines are widely available.”