The Washtenaw County Health Department announced that they were awarded 2,500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, according to a Wednesday press release. These vaccines are meant for areas of the county most vulnerable to the virus, particularly Black and Latinx communities.
The doses were allocated to Washtenaw County by the MDHHS Community Outreach Pilot Project as a supplement to the health department’s regular weekly vaccine allotment. The project focuses on supplementing vaccine allotments with extra doses for older individuals in communities with high Social Vulnerability Indexes. These doses will be administered at pop-up vaccination sites throughout this week and the following week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines social vulnerability as “the potential negative effects on communities caused by external stresses on human health.” The SVI score for different regions aims to help identify communities in need of aid before, during and after a disaster.
According to the press release, individuals 50 years and older with medical conditions or disabilities living in high SVI areas in Washtenaw County will be eligible to get vaccinated at the pop-up sites. After March 22, eligibility to receive the vaccine will be expanded to include everyone 50 years and older in those areas. The Community Outreach COVID-19 program identified high risk regions on the east side of Washtenaw County in addition to sections of Pittsfield Township and Ann Arbor under the zip codes 48197, 48198, 48108 and 48105.
The press release says pop-up vaccination sites will be in accessible locations like churches and Ypsilanti High School, and appointments are required. The county is organizing these events with Black and Latinx community leaders to encourage eligible residents in these communities to get vaccinated, the press release says.
The pop-up sites will be located here:
Tues., March 16 at St. Francis Assisi Parish in Ann Arbor from 4 to 8 p.m. in Spanish/en Español
Sat., March 20 at Ypsilanti High School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Drive-thru format in Shadford Field parking lot
Mon., March 22 at Bethel AME in Ann Arbor from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tues., March 23 at Second Baptist Church in Ypsilanti from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wed., March 24 at New Covenant Missionary Baptist from 2 to 7 p.m.; Drive-thru format.
Eligible community members can sign up through this link or by calling 734-544-6700.
In the press release, the health department said their goal is to provide vaccines to communities with high Black and Latinx populations as efficiently as possible. The pandemic has been shown to disproportionately affect minority communities, particularly Washtenaw County’s Black communities.
In Washtenaw County, Black residents make up 12% of the population yet represent 27% of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 22% of deaths, according to the press release. Jimena Loveluck, WCHD health officer, said vaccine pop-up sites aim to address this discrepancy by working to provide vaccines in the most underserved areas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but some areas and communities within Washtenaw County have been more severely impacted,” Loveluck said. “We are committed to ensuring equitable vaccine access to our African American and Latinx community members and are grateful to have the vaccine to offer additional community-based pop-up clinics.”
As of March 16, 27.7% of the Washtenaw County population over the age of 16 has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Of the population that has received the vaccine, 76.8% is white, 9.4% is Black and 2.4% is Hispanic or Latinx.
The county health department is working with Michigan Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and other community organizations on this initiative.Dana Habers, co-head of the Michigan Medicine COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics task force, said in the press release that Michigan Medicine is eager to partner with the county health department to make these pop-up clinics possible.
“We are deeply committed to ensuring equitable access to vaccines, this is tremendously important for our entire community, and we are happy to be a part of this effort,” Habers said.
Daily Staff Reporter Martha Lewand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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