Macomb County’s SMART bus vaccination program draws praise, but doses remain in low supply

County partners with SMART

Macomb County’s partnership with SMART to help senior citizens vaccinated went into effect Wednesday.
Macomb County’s partnership with SMART to help senior citizens vaccinated went into effect Wednesday.

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – Macomb County’s partnership with SMART to help senior citizens vaccinated went into effect Wednesday.

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

Sharon Gurney received her first COVID-19 vaccine dose recently just by answering the phone when Macomb County and SMART called her.

“I was thrilled, I couldn’t believe it,” Gurney said. “They called us. We were surprised and happy at the same time.”

The state has been sending Macomb County fewer doses every week, leaving many seniors unable to get vaccinated.

READ: Macomb County seniors brave snowy roads to get vaccinated

Jeff White, the chief at Richmond Lenox Township EMS, started a program years ago using SMART buses to help get senior citizens to the doctor’s office or grocery stores.

He called SMART and asked if they could get seniors to vaccine appointments as the county got more doses. White said SMART was eager to jump in and help out.

SMART has picked up seniors in Eastpointe, Warren, Chesterfield, Roseville and more without having seniors jump on a computer or being placed on hold.

Macomb County is giving 1,000 doses a week to the effort. The plan could be expanded as long as there are vaccine doses available.

A new hotline and email has been set up for the SMART/Richmond Lenox EMS vaccination program for people who use SMART buses.

Residents can call 586-421-6579 from 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday.

You can also reach out by email at MacombVaccine@SMARTbus.org


READ: Tracking Michigan COVID-19 vaccine data


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.