Washtenaw County receives extra 2,500 COVID vaccine doses for most vulnerable residents

Health Department to host several vaccine pop-ups in church, community settings

FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, three vials of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are pictured in a new coronavirus vaccination center at the 'Velodrom' (velodrome-stadium) in Berlin, Germany. Slow off the blocks in the race to immunize its citizens against COVID-19, Germany faces the problem of having a glut of vaccines and not enough arms to inject. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, FILE) (Michael Sohn, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department has announced a new pilot project as a result of receiving 2,500 additional doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The Health Department applied for the extra vaccines through the MDHHS’ Community Outreach COVID-19 Pilot Project.

With the help of local partners and leaders, the Health Department will host several pop-ups in areas with high Social Vulnerability Index. The events will take place this week and next and the doses are in addition to the Health Department’s regular vaccine allocations.

The vaccination pop-up events will be open to residents age 50 and older with disabilities or medical conditions living in the county’s high-priority areas. Pop-ups scheduled after March 22 will be open to everyone age 50 and older in the prioritized neighborhoods.

Organized with leaders from African American and Latinx communities and partner organizations, the events will be offered in community and church settings in order to reach as many residents as possible.

Priority areas include the east side of Washtenaw County as well as areas of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township including the zip codes 48197, 48198, 48108, and 48105.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but some areas and communities within Washtenaw County have been more severely impacted,” health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department Jimena Loveluck said in a news release. “We are committed to ensuring equitable vaccine access to our African American and Latinx community members and are grateful to have the vaccine to offer additional community-based pop-up clinics.”

Thirty-one percent of COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County have been concentrated on the east side of the county and in the 48197 and 48198 zip codes.

Although African Americans only represent 12 percent of Washtenaw County’s population, they represent 27 percent of hospitalizations and 22 percent of deaths related to COVID-19. Similarly, Hispanic and/or Latinx residents only make up five percent of the local population but represented 6 percent of local COVID-19 cases.

Pop-up clinics and community distribution sites include:

  • Saturday, March 20: Ypsilanti High School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drive-thru format in Shadford Field parking lot.
  • Monday, March 22: Bethel AME in Ann Arbor from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 23: Second Baptist Church in Ypsilanti from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 24: New Covenant Missionary Baptist from 2-7 p.m. Drive-thru format.
  • Some appointments can be scheduled through Packard Health.

Registration is required to avoid crowding and ensure adequate doses. Community leaders, staff and volunteers will be providing direct registration for each site.

Eligible individuals can call 734-544-6700 and select which pop-up clinic they’d like to attend or email wchdpopup@washtenaw.org.

“These pop-up sites are designed to remove barriers to vaccines for local communities of color,” read a Health Department news release. “The sites will address transportation barriers by embedding vaccination efforts in neighborhood settings easily accessible to residents. Information and materials will be available in multiple languages, as well as through phone lines and community members.

“Trusted faith and community leaders, as well as healthcare providers known to community members, will help promote the pop-ups and schedule appointments, addressing barriers related to a lack of Internet access or difficulty with technology.”

The Health Department pop-ups are hosted in partnership with Michigan Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Packard Health and community partners.

“Michigan Medicine is eager to partner and make pop-up clinics possible, as every shot counts as we fight COVID-19 together,” Dana Habers, who co-leads the Michigan Medicine COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics Task Force, said in a statement. “We are deeply committed to ensuring equitable access to vaccines, this is tremendously important for our entire community, and we are happy to be a part of this effort.”

“We are happy to be able to support this effort to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations with our community partners,” president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Alonzo Lewis said in a statement. “It is our hope that through efforts like these, in addition to other work St. Joe’s is employing in the community to improve equitable distribution of vaccines, we can remove barriers and continue on the path towards ending this pandemic.”