Michigan ramping up COVID-19 vaccine efforts on college campuses, in Detroit area

26 colleges and universities taking part in expanded effort to vaccinate students before summer break
Johnson & Johnson says they hope to have 24 million vaccines out by the end of April. (Source:...
Johnson & Johnson says they hope to have 24 million vaccines out by the end of April. (Source: Morgan Newell, WBTV)(Source: Morgan Newell, WBTV)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan is increasing efforts to vaccinate college students and residents in underserved areas around Detroit against COVID-19.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced a partnership Thursday with 26 colleges and universities around the state to expand access to the vaccines on their campuses.

About 16,000 additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being shipped to health departments across Michigan that serve areas with colleges and universities. They hope to administer those doses to students before the school year ends.

“Vaccinations are the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 and end this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We are committed to making vaccine accessibility simple and equitable, which is why we are mobilizing efforts to bring vaccines to college students, and to those who are most vulnerable or do not have access to transportation.”

State health officials hope to vaccinate as many college students against COVID-19 as possible before they return home for the summer.

“Vaccinating this group of the population right now makes a lot of sense, as thousands of college and university students near the end of their academic year and are preparing to travel back home, start new jobs, take summer vacations, and interact with their family and friends,” said Northern Michigan University president Fritz Erickson.

The 26 colleges and universities participating in the effort include Alma College, Central Michigan University, the University of Michigan-Flint and Saginaw Valley State University in Mid-Michigan.

“Protecting the health and safety of our campus community has always been critical to our student experience, but never more so than during this pandemic,” Central Michigan University President Bob Davies said.

Beginning next week, the state also is sending more mobile vaccination clinics into parts of Detroit and Hamtramck, which score high on Michigan’s social vulnerability index. The mobile clinics can sign up people for the community mass vaccination clinic at Ford Field or administer up to 500 doses on site.

“Given the rise in cases and hospitalizations, now more than ever, it is important to bring the vaccine where people are, right in their neighborhood,” said Denise Fair, chief public health officer at the Detroit Health Department. “We will be offering even more opportunities to provide vaccines to our community.”

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