First 400 Detroit residents vaccinated Wednesday

‘It is so easy to get the shot. It didn’t hurt. I didn’t have a reaction,’

Wednesday was a big day for residents of Detroit -- a day Detroiters have been waiting nearly 10 months for.
Wednesday was a big day for residents of Detroit -- a day Detroiters have been waiting nearly 10 months for.

DETROIT – Wednesday was a big day for residents of Detroit -- a day Detroiters have been waiting nearly 10 months for.

READ: ‘This is the first step to getting our lives back’ -- Detroit begins vaccinating residents

Meda Chapman, a 77-year-old Detroit resident, was the first of 400 people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the TCF Center.

“Once inside, it went really smooth,” Chapman said. “I filled out my form and kept moving ahead until it was time for me to get the shot.”

Relief could be heard in Chapman’s voice as she recalled getting her first coronavirus dose from the city of Detroit.

READ: How Detroit residents can schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointment

Early on, Detroit was a coronavirus hotspot. More than 1,700 people have died from coronavirus in Detroit, a little less than half of the roughly 3,600 that have died in Wayne County. More than 27,000 Detroiters have tested positive for COVID.

Chapman said it’s the city’s time to move forward.

“I think that the seniors especially should step forward and take the shot,” Chapman said. “Is it better to get the shot or to get sick and end up in the hospital or being in quarantine? It is so easy to get the shot. It didn’t hurt. I didn’t have a reaction.”

The shots are administered inside the TCF Center garage by appointment only. City officials said phone lines were overwhelmed, but the jammed phone lines to make an appointment have improved.

400 Detroiters were vaccinated Wednesday. It’s just the start, but so much is riding on the drive-thru vaccination system. The city is offering 20,000 COVID-19 appointments through Feb. 5 as the city moves into the next phase.

Robert Frantz is a 56-year-old essential worker -- a special education teacher with Detroit Public Schools Community District. He said he was in-and-out within 25 minutes.

“It went well. Fast an organized,” Frantz said. “I would say to come down and get it.”

People should call 313-230-0505 to schedule an appointment only if they meet the following qualifications:

  • A Detroit resident 75 and older
  • Any “good neighbor” 65 and older who drives a 75 year old (or older) Detroit resident to TCF
  • The following Group B essential workers: K-12 teachers and support staff and child care workers

Because supply of the vaccine is limited, residents are required to get an appointment. More information on how to set up an appointment can be found here.

Info: Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.