Duggan says 5,000 Detroiters could get COVID-19 vaccine a day, but cites challenges

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Mayor Mike Duggan said Sunday that he hopes 5,000 Detroit residents will receive a COVID-19 vaccine a day once they become available, but he cautioned that the nation “is not yet geared up” for the task.

In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Duggan said the city is working “day and night” to prepare for vaccines, which he said likely will begin in January or February, depending on when they're approved. He added that he and other mayors have been strategizing with president-elect Joe Biden.



“We’re looking now at the reality that when we were testing 1,200 people a day, that was a major undertaking,” Duggan said. “To get the vaccinations out, we’re going to have to vaccinate 5,000 a day just in Detroit. And this country is not yet geared up. … We haven’t begun as a country to address what it’s going to take to actually inject people with the vaccine.”

Duggan said vaccines will likely be administered at the TCF Center, parking structures, pharmacies, and hospitals.



At 5,000 vaccines a day, it would take about 135 days to inoculate everyone.

But a University of Michigan survey in October found that nearly two-thirds of Detroiters said they likely won’t get a government-approved vaccine when it becomes available. Black residents were four times as likely as white residents to say they don’t plan to get vaccinated.

“Those with greater levels of distrust of government, news, and doctors are less likely to say they will be vaccinated,” Jeffrey Morenoff, one of the lead researchers for the university’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study, said in a statement. “Successful efforts to promote a vaccine when it’s available will need to take into account these attitudes.”

On Monday, drug maker Moderna announced it will apply for emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer submitted its application on Nov. 20.

Henry Ford Health System announced last week that it may begin receiving vaccines as early as mid-December. Five of the system’s hospitals in Michigan have been preparing for months to distribute the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which must be stored in specialized freezers at below-freezing temperatures to maintain their potencies.

The coronavirus has claimed the lives of 1,584 Detroiters. The city has reported nearly 20,000 cases.

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