DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit is approaching the one-year anniversary of its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines as officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated or receive booster shots.
More than 424,000 doses have been administered to residents 5 and older since frontline medical workers and first responders began receiving vaccines on Dec. 23, 2020.
Over that time, more than 4,330 vaccinations clinics have been held at 513 locations in Detroit.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, more than 2,600 Detroit residents have died from the disease. But the city’s vaccination rate of 44%, which includes children 5 and older, still is far below Michigan’s overall rate.
Detroit’s rate has to reach 70% to achieve community immunity, according to Denise Fair Razo, the city’s chief public health officer.
“The vaccines are the best means we have of preventing severe illness,” Fair Razo said “We need Detroiters to step up like they always do because being unvaccinated has consequences for our entire community.”
City workers and volunteers have gone to nearly 400,000 homes with information about vaccines and are vaccinating about 200 residents each day in their homes, Fair Razo said.
“Plus, we have a drive-through site and extended hour sites, weekend sites, sites at churches, schools, and stores,” she said. “Walk-ins are welcome. It’s no longer acceptable or even appropriate to wait to get vaccinated.”
Of special concern are the approach of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period when many families and friends spend time together indoors.
“Consider avoiding large indoor gatherings,” Fair Razo said. “But if you can’t, take precautions such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and washing your hands. I would also recommend getting tested before you gather, no more than 72 hours in advance.”