Detroit, state leaders promote 3rd COVID-19 shot for the immunocompromised

By: - August 16, 2021 11:04 am

TCF Center Detroit, March 9, 2021 | Ken Coleman

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday announced the city will reopen TCF Center as a COVID-19 vaccination site for people who have compromised immune systems. The city, Duggan said, is armed with 30,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

The move comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday approved Pfizer and Moderna for third doses for those with immune issues, which includes, but is not limited to, organ transplant recipients, certain cancer patients and people with HIV.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan helps to announce the TCF Center | Ken Coleman

“What we are seeing in Florida and other southern states today is what is headed our way,” said Duggan during a morning news conference. “As they have since the beginning of the pandemic, Detroiters are going to have the fastest and most convenient access to the vaccine so they can remain protected. Just as we did before, we will expand access as quickly as the CDC and state allow.”

An estimated 2.7% of adults in the United States are immunocompromised, according to the CDC. 

The third shots will be available starting Tuesday at TCF Center, the city’s downtown convention center, with a scheduled appointment. The announcement comes as only 41.4% of Detroit residents aged 12 and older have at least a vaccine dose as opposed to 59.3% of Michigan residents who have been vaccinated.

In recent months, Detroit officials and other institutions have implemented various efforts designed to encourage more people to take the vaccine. It includes door-knocking, opening vaccine sites in trusted community spaces like community centers and homes of worship, and carrying out home visits to seniors who can not  readily leave their residences. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday signed off on a third shot for immunocompromised people. 

“[The] action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time,” Janet Woodcock, acting U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said in a statement.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Friday an executive directive to state departments and agencies “to move as quickly as possible to administer an additional dose to vulnerable individuals in long-term care facilities within the state, and she encourages all eligible Michiganders to get an additional dose to protect themselves.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Whitmer office photo

“Throughout the pandemic, our top priority has been protecting those who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, including older Michiganders, residents in long-term care facilities, and immunocompromised individuals,” said Whitmer. “When vaccines first became available, we ensured that 100% of residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities had first dibs at the safe and effective vaccines. Now, it’s important that we continue to prioritize these Michiganders by rushing an additional dose to those who need it the most.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is partnering with local providers to make available to Michigan residents with compromised immune systems an additional dose of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The additional doses will provide additional protections for those with compromised immune systems who may not have had a robust immune response to the first two doses of vaccine. It will help protect against the Delta variant and other variants, DHHS said. 

“The safe and effective COVID vaccine is the way we are going to end this pandemic. I am pleased that our federal partners have taken action to recommend an additional vaccine dose for those with compromised immune systems,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and DHHS chief deputy director for health. 

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.