Detroit mayor: 600-700 calls per hour for vaccinations
Operators scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for elderly Detroit residents were receiving 600 to 700 calls per hour Tuesday for appointments as people seek more vaccines than currently are available.
The city has started scheduled vaccinations for residents 75 and older and will begin offering them to people 65 and older once more doses are received from the federal government, Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters Tuesday.
Detroit received about 120,000 calls Monday, but many were not eligible yet for the vaccine, Duggan added.
About 40,000 people in Detroit are 75 or older, Duggan said.
About 2,000 vaccine doses received earlier are being used for firefighters, city health department workers and residents at assisted living centers. Detroit received 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine Monday that will be used to vaccinate residents 75 and older.
“One-third of all of our neighbors that we lost this past year to COVID were over the age of 75,” he said. “People over 75 who get COVID are far more likely to die than people over 65. They are the ones most vulnerable to COVID and they have to be our highest priority.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Detroit has had more than 27,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,734 deaths.
On Monday, the state began offering vaccines to Michigan residents 65 and older in addition to frontline workers like police officers, first responders, teachers and childcare workers.
“There is a difference between saying 65-year-olds are eligible and actually having the vaccine,” Duggan added, saying the federal government has “botched this from the beginning” and has been slow to provide states with the number of doses initially promised.
“We’re probably only going to see 75-year-olds, and teachers and cops getting the lions’ share of the vaccinations the next two or three weeks,” he said. “Everybody is moving as fast as the vaccines show up.”
Duggan said 400 vaccinations were booked for Wednesday at the TCF convention center downtown. Another 600 were will be vaccinated Thursday and 800 on Friday. Starting next week, Duggan said the city expects to be vaccinating 1,000 people per day.
“If the vaccine number goes up, we’ll increase those bookings. If the vaccine number goes down, we may have to reschedule some folks to another day,” he said.
Michigan reported 1,994 confirmed daily cases of the virus Tuesday and 100 deaths. The state has had more than 525,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 13,501 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said that on Tuesday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it would send millions of vaccine doses to some states, including Michigan. Whitmer and eight other governors had requested more vaccines that she said were being held back by the Trump Administration.
Whitmer also said she sent a letter Monday to the Trump Administration requesting permission for Michigan to buy up to 100,000 vaccine doses.
Williams reported from West Bloomfield, Michigan.