Livonia mayor says city does not have COVID-19 vaccine doses, but trying to change that

Livonia sees demand for vaccine among senior residents, but says doses are going to educators first; everyone else must go through health systems

Livonia City Hall (Dave Parker, Wikimedia)

LIVONIA, Mich. – One of Metro Detroit’s largest cities is without access to COVID-19 vaccine doses as of Friday, the city’s mayor announced while emphasizing her hope to change this.

Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan expressed frustration with the Wayne County Public Health Division’s vaccine rollout and distribution. The county health department is only vaccinating first responders and teachers. Teachers are being scheduled through their school district.

The rest of Livonia residents who are 65 or older must go through a local health system to receive a vaccination -- see the list below. Miller Brosnan said she wants direct access to vaccine doses so that the city can have firefighters administer them, allowing for senior residents to get vaccinated through the city.

Here is the message from the mayor on Friday:

“At this time, the City of Livonia does not have access to any vaccine doses, though we are trying hard to change that.

Vaccines are distributed to the individual states, and then the state distributes them to the various health departments. The City of Livonia is under the Wayne County Health Department, as are all Wayne County cities (except Detroit, which has its own health department). At this time, Wayne County is only vaccinating first responders and teachers. Teachers are being scheduled through their school district.

Residents over age 65 should contact your hospital system online to learn if and when you can receive your vaccination. Your hospital will contact you directly to schedule a time for your shot. Ask someone you trust to help you find the right hospital. Health care providers are registering appointments based on a random contact/email basis, meaning you have to wait until they contact you before you can set up an appointment.

We are just as frustrated as many of our residents are with the delays in delivering vaccines in Wayne County. My team is working diligently and tirelessly to be permitted to receive the vaccines and have Livonia Firefighters administer them, which we are fully prepared to handle. We will keep our residents updated as best we can.

We appreciate your patience and value your health. We’ll get through this together and assure you that we will not rest until all our residents interested in receiving a vaccine receive one.”

At the end of January, county officials said Wayne County was receiving 8,375 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, nearly all of which would go to into the arms of educators in Wayne County.

“We are pretty much devoting the vast majority of the supply to start with our educators starting next week,” said Genelle Allen, Wayne County COO, said at the time.

Wayne County is still technically in Phase 1A, which covers independent necessary health care workers -- a group of 18,000 registered residents in the county.

“We’re about a third of the way there. But we recognize that the governor said that she would like all schools to be back in person by March 1, so we figured that we needed to really ramp up and expedite,” Allen said. “We’re getting to our educators.”

In January, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources announced that the state would move on to a new phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, including teachers, first responders, childcare providers and residents 65 years of age and older. That new phase took effect Jan. 11. This has been a frustrating setback for many seniors who thought they would be next in line behind first responders.

“I would hope that it would put me and many people like me at the top of the list, but it doesn’t seem to be prioritized in any way,” 68-year-old Debbie Pettitt told Local 4 last week.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said he met with state officials in Lansing because the Wayne County Public Health Division reportedly received fewer vaccines than health departments in other, less populated counties.

The disparity in vaccine allotment was slowing Wayne County’s efforts to vaccinate health providers, educators, and other high-priority essential workers under the state’s Phase 1A and Phase 1B distribution plan, Evans said.

Under an agreement between Wayne County and local health systems, county residents 65 years of age and older are being vaccinated through those health systems.

“I will continue to press the state of Michigan until the Wayne County Public Health Division receives the amount of vaccine required to meet the needs of its residents,” Evans said.

Here are those health systems:

Detroit expands its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Meanwhile, in Detroit, a city in Wayne County with its own health department, Mayor Mike Duggan announced the expansion of the city’s vaccine eligibility to restaurant workers, grocery store employees, janitors and security guards.

Duggan said the vaccinations will be administered at the TCF Center.

“We’re going to start with our food. Anybody handling food or beverages or food supply. So any grocery store and restaurant worker. Now, the restaurant people are reopening again. They’re handling our food and drinks. People in the meatpacking industry, the bottling industry and alike,” Duggan said.

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

More information on Wayne County’s vaccination program can read on its official website here.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.