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illustration of a car, syringe, and Covid

Vaccine Hunt

As infections soar, it's more urgent than ever.

by Grace Shackman

From the May, 2021 issue

Blair Carlson didn't even leave his car to get his Covid shot in March. He pulled into the lot at IHA's West Arbor Medical Center, filled out a form, and drove into a giant tent. He rolled down his window, rolled up his sleeve, and "bang!-- there you go," he says.

It wasn't always this easy. After the first vaccines went to nursing homes and essential workers, providers announced that they would soon begin scheduling appointments, only to receive fewer doses than they expected or in some cases none at all.

Ann Arbor's tech-savvy population began working the problem, trading tips on where shots were available and driving hours to get them. In March, when the Observer's e-newsletter, a2view, asked readers where they were vaccinated, the most frequent answer was a Rite Aid in Ohio.

As more doses arrived locally, local providers worked together and with their patients to get them into arms. "It was a massive project with everybody working as hard as they could to make it as effective as they could," said Jean Callum, CEO of Packard Health.

Michigan Medicine commandeered the Jack Roth Club at Michigan Stadium. The Washtenaw County Health Department set up mass vaccination sites at EMU's Convocation Center and St. Joe's-Chelsea, while Packard Health took vaccines to Dawn Farm, the Shelter Association's Delonis Center, Avalon Housing, the Corner Health Center, and SafeHouse. Clinics also popped up at historically black churches in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and, to reach Hispanic residents, at St. Francis of Assisi Church and a local trailer park.

By mid-April, nearly half of county residents had received at least one shot. But with more dangerous Covid variants and younger victims sending infection rates to record levels, getting everyone vaccinated is more critical than ever.     (end of article)

[Originally published in May, 2021.]


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