(WXYZ) — Ford Field has been selected before to host major events in the past, including concerts, a Super Bowl, and a Final Four. Now, it’s been selected by the federal government as a regional vaccination site.
Henry Ford Health will be the medical director for the site, which will be run by the State of Michigan alongside partnerships with FEMA, Wayne County, City of Detroit, Ford Field and the Detroit Lions, and Meijer.
According to Henry Ford, appointments will be booked through Meijer and will open up on Monday, March 15. The site will operate every day from 8:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.
“We are finalizing the details of the process but people will come there, be able to check in for free, parking will be free, insurance will not be required," explained Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. "This is about accessibility to people in southeast Michigan.”
The stadium already hosted a vaccine clinic for educators earlier this month, but starting March 24 the site will be open to all of southeast Michigan. It has the ability to give up to 6,000 shots a day 7 days a week for 8 weeks. This is on top of Michigan's normal distribution.
“No vaccine is being taken away and redirected to Ford Field," Gilchrist said. "This is additional vaccine on top of what we’re already getting.”
“Great there will be that much vaccine, but when’s it going to come here,” said Lexia Dahlbacka, who lives in South Lyon.
Dahlbacka is 53-years-old with a heart condition and her husband is 68. They've been on the Oakland County waitlist, which at the start of the month still had nearly half a million names.
She also said she logs on daily to find appointments at local pharmacies, but has no luck.
“It's like beating my head against a wall,” Dahlbacka said. "We’re living in a vaccine desert here in Lyon Township.”
She worries people like her, who are eligible now but have yet to be vaccinated, will be left behind when the State opens appointments to all Michiganders on April 5.
The Lieutenant Governor says that won't happen.
“They’re not going to be left behind because we’re going to have plenty of vaccine to serve everyone,” Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist added that Michigan is seeing a large increase in doses every week, and he is confident the state will have enough supply to open up to more age groups by April 5.
“We know that people have been eager, demand has been high for this vaccine and that’s a good thing," Gilchrist said. "Now we’re working to make sure supply rises to meet that demand.”
Vaccines will be available to anyone 50 and older by March 22, and those 16 and older can book appointments starting April 5. However, the state has said it may take several weeks after that date for everyone who wants an appointment to be able to schedule one.