Washtenaw County, St. Joe’s Ann Arbor open mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Eastern Michigan University

People sit in the waiting area at EMU's Convocation Center at 799 N Hewitt Rd. in Ypsilanti. (Jeremy Borton | St. Joe's)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital have partnered to staff a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Eastern Michigan University.

The purpose of the clinic is to vaccinate large numbers of people in one central location. While the establishment of the new site does not mean more appointments are currently available, it allows the county to position itself to provide more vaccinations once supply is increased by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic-East is inside EMU’s Convocation Center at 799 N. Hewitt Rd in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The county has been administering vaccinations to healthcare and essential workers at this location since Dec. 18, 2020. Up to 1,000 people are currently vaccinated at the site each day, depending on vaccine supply.

Currently, the clinic runs two days a week by appointment only. As vaccine supply increases, the county and St. Joe’s plan to open the clinic seven days a week for 10-12 hours a day to increase vaccinations.

A woman receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Eastern Michigan University's campus. (Jeremy Borton | St. Joe's)

Starting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, St. Joe’s will begin staffing the site with the goal of moving vaccine efforts in its hospital lobby to the larger clinic. After completing existing vaccination appointments scheduled through Feb. 25, the hospital will also be bringing a portion of its vaccine supply to the new location.

“Running this community vaccination clinic is a huge undertaking,” Dr. Juan Luis Marquez, medical director at the Washtenaw County Health Department said in a statement. “We are grateful to partner with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to both continue and expand our community vaccination efforts. As supplies increase and vaccine becomes more available to a larger number of people, we are well-equipped to get our community vaccinated as efficiently as possible.”

“We are excited to work together with the health department through this collaborative model which will serve as the best method to vaccinate large groups of the public as the vaccine roll-out continues,” Dr. David Vandenberg, chief medical officer at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor said in a statement.

“While the hospital vaccine clinic made sense when the vaccine first came out as we were focused on vaccinating our own health care workers, it is now more effective to move vaccination to a larger, more convenient location that is more accessible to our community members.”

Once it is up and running for residents in eligible vaccine phases, the new clinic will offer vaccines by appointment only.

Registration will be done through the Washtenaw County Health Department. Appointments may be requested by eligible individuals online or by phone. Submitting a request places them in line to schedule their vaccination. Once an appointment becomes available, they will be contacted by email or by phone.

A member of the national guard is seen assisting in COVID-19 vaccination efforts at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. (Jeremy Borton | St. Joe's)

In addition to St. Joe’s staff, the National Guard and various volunteers will be supporting the local vaccination efforts whether it be as vaccinators or non-medical volunteers.

“We are pleased to support this critical community effort and the use of our outstanding Convocation Center,” Eastern Michigan University President James Smith said in a statement. “The expanded vaccination clinic, and ongoing partnership with the WCHD and St. Joe’s, are reflective of Eastern’s overall mission and our support of the greater community. This is yet another example of the national recognition and rationale behind the University’s Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement.”

The EMU site was selected due to its proximity to several highways, bus routes and for its accessibility and ample parking. Once vaccine supply increases, a second central location on the west side of the county will opened.

Currently, individuals who are 65 years and older or who qualify as certain essential workers -- such as childcare workers and teachers -- are eligible to receive the vaccine. Appointments are also ongoing for Phase 1a individuals including doctors, healthcare workers, dentists and their staff.

What to expect

Individuals who are scheduled for an appointment are asked to come alone to get vaccinated unless assistance is needed or they require a legal guardian or a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare to join them. For those with mobility issues, accommodations are available.

After receiving their vaccine dose, recipients are asked to wait for 15 minutes in an observation area.

Childcare is not available at the clinic, however, adults who come to their appointment with children will still receive their vaccine so as many eligible adults as possible can be vaccinated. Masks and social distancing are mandatory and those with appointments are asked to arrive promptly to avoid delays.

Parking and transportation

Free parking is available at the EMU Convocation Center’s parking lot, which can be accessed from Hewitt Road. Those with appointments are asked to enter the building through Entrance D. The location can be reached using TheRide’s public transportation.