Ford Field in Detroit will be used as a mass vaccination center to administer vaccines for COVID-19.

Ford Field in Detroit will be used as a mass vaccination center to administer vaccines for COVID-19.

Photo by Bryan Pollard/Shutterstock


Mass COVID-19 vaccination site installed at Ford Field

By: Brendan Losinski | Metro | Published March 19, 2021

DETROIT — On March 12, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that an eight-week mass vaccination site with the capacity to administer 6,000 doses each day will open on Wednesday, March 24, at Ford Field in Detroit to serve Michigan residents.

The site was selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a high-volume vaccination site by using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s suggested list of areas in the United States that have been either the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic or are home to vulnerable populations.

“This mass vaccination site will accelerate Michigan’s efforts to reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a press release. “I am grateful to President (Joe) Biden and FEMA for selecting Michigan for this site and urge Michiganders to make an appointment to receive their vaccine when it becomes available. The COVID-19 vaccine is our way to defeat the virus and return to normalcy.”

The site will operate from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week for eight weeks under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program. The facility will be managed by the state of Michigan with support from FEMA, Wayne County, the city of Detroit, Ford Field and the Henry Ford Health System with additional logistical help from the Detroit Lions and Meijer shopping centers.

“The most important thing we can do now as a community is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible so our lives and our economy can return to normal,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release. “Having this new mass vaccination site operated by FEMA will be a significant step forward for our city and our region toward that goal. We will be working closely with FEMA and state officials to make sure vaccines are distributed equitably.”

Local politicians and leaders are encouraging those living in the Detroit area to get their vaccinations as soon as it is available to them and to see if the Ford Field site may be helpful in that goal.

“We believe the more opportunities for vaccines, the better. Studies have shown older adults are more vulnerable to the disease and while many have received the vaccine, many others have not had the opportunity for a number of reasons including transportation issues. The plans revealed for Ford Field should help get more older adults vaccinated,” Helm at the Boll Life Center Executive Director Peggy Hayes said in an email.

“The safe and effective vaccine is the best way to protect Michiganders and their families, and it is essential to getting our country back to normal, so that we can all hug our loved ones, get back to work, and send our kids to school safely,” Whitmer said in a press release. “I want to thank President Biden and FEMA for the opportunity to build one of the nation’s first community vaccination sites to service the entire Southeast Michigan region. Over one million Michiganders of all races have already been safely vaccinated, and this site will help us to reach our goal of equitably vaccinating 70 percent of Michiganders who are 16 years or older more quickly. Ramping up vaccine distribution will also help our economy recover faster and help save our small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Let’s get to work, and let’s get it done.”

People can apply for the vaccine by three means: going to www.clinic.meijer.com, texting EndCOVID to 75049, or calling the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing option one.

Officials said that the vaccine will be offered at no cost, and insurance is not required, nor will it be requested at the vaccination center. Any Michigan resident who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services vaccine prioritization guidance will be able to register for an appointment. Free parking will be available at the vaccination site. For those who indicate, during the registration process, they need assistance obtaining transportation to and from the vaccination site, the state is working to provide free-of-charge rideshare options.   

“The surest way to end this pandemic is to get everyone vaccinated, especially our residents in at-risk communities,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a press release. “The FEMA mass vaccination clinic at Ford Field will play an important role in improving access to the vaccine while allowing more people to receive shots at a quicker rate. It is important that we increase access to the vaccine, especially in communities of color and underserved communities. The FEMA mass vaccination clinic gives all Wayne County residents one more option in getting vaccinated when it is their turn.”