Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on March 12, 2021, that 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 residents in the broader southeast Michigan region. The Biden Administration, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), selected southeast Michigan for this major new community vaccination site.
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. The facility will be managed by the State of Michigan with support from FEMA, Wayne County, the City of Detroit, Ford Field, Meijer, Henry Ford Health System, and the Lions.
“The safe and effective vaccine is the best way to protect Michiganders and their families, and it is essential to getting our country back to normal, so that we can all hug our loved ones, get back to work, and send our kids to school safely,” said Whitmer. “I want to thank President Biden and FEMA for the opportunity to build one of the nation’s first community vaccination sites to service the entire Southeast Michigan region. Over one million Michiganders of all races have already been safely vaccinated, and this site will help us to reach our goal of equitably vaccinating 70 percent of Michiganders who are 16 years or older more quickly. Ramping up vaccine distribution will also help our economy recover faster and help save our small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Let’s get to work, and let’s get it done.”
“FEMA is committed to the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. “In coordination with our federal, state and local partners, we are establishing the Ford Field site to expand the rate of vaccinations in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that local communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.”
“This mass vaccination site will accelerate Michigan’s efforts to reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “I am grateful to President Biden and FEMA for selecting Michigan for this site and urge Michiganders to make an appointment to receive their vaccine when it becomes available. The COVID-19 vaccine is our way to defeat the virus and return to normalcy.”
Vaccine doses administered at the Ford Field Mass Vaccination Site will be based on the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to vaccinate our 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.
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 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (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 most recent vaccine prioritization guidance can be found on Michigan’s COVID-19 website.
MDHHS follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States.
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.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.