New program helps Wayne County residents navigate COVID vaccination process

Program aims to help vaccinate 10,000 within next week

Many people are growing frustrated with the system as they try to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine.

DETROIT – Many people are growing frustrated with the system as they try to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine.

People have reported having to wait on the phone or their computer for hours while they try to book an appointment.

But some people don’t have a computer or don’t have the time to wait on a phone for hours on end. A program in Wayne County is trying to close the gap to vaccine access.

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

Eric Doeh is with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network. The network is working to help people who would otherwise struggle to get the COVID-19 vaccine gain access.

“Disparity is not only in healthcare. Disparity is also in access to technology,” Doeh said. “Just yesterday alone. We were at one of our locations and over, close to 200 folks came out, that’s 200 people that would have either had to wait or may not have even had access at all.”

This week, a partnership between the network and Detroit identified seniors, low-wage essential workers and clients in the mental health system. It worked to help provide them fair access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

They had onsite vaccine locations where people were provided with transportation, or delivered the vaccine so that they didn’t have to wait or miss work to be vaccinated.

The current program is just for citizens of Detroit, but the network is looking for ways to partner with other cities in Wayne County. It hopes to expand their efforts to reach people who don’t have easy access to the vaccine.

READ: Tracking Michigan COVID-19 vaccine data

About the Author:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.