ANN ARBOR — Forced to close its gates to fans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Big House will reopen to play a critical role in the efforts to quickly vaccinate as many people as possible.
Hundreds of University of Michigan health care workers and students who work in health care settings are scheduled to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Michigan Stadium today. This is not open to the public, and by appointment only for those that fall into the vaccine priority group Phase 1A category.
Michigan Medicine has already vaccinated nearly 7,000 health care workers and, through the opening of the Stadium and other planned locations, aims to deliver all vaccine doses received from the state quickly and safely.
Currently, Michigan Medicine is vaccinating frontline health care workers and students who fall into the vaccine priority group Phase 1A, following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
As more vaccine becomes available, the Michigan Stadium site is expected to eventually be able to support up to 2,000 vaccinations a day — with 2,000 more vaccinations provided daily on the medical campus and in other patient care facilities.
“We are committed to protecting critical healthcare infrastructure and those who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 first. The Stadium site affords an opportunity to safely and efficiently scale up our ability to use all of the doses we are provided and ultimately save lives,” says David Miller, M.D., incoming president of the University of Michigan Health System, the clinical operation of the University of Michigan’s academic medical center.
Once Phase 1A is complete, U-M will coordinate with the state and local government to move into Phase 1B, which includes people 75 years old and older and frontline essential workers. Timing of this phase and later phases depends on several factors, including the amount of vaccine allocated to the state from the federal government and distribution.
“We, as a state, have a big mountain to climb with regards to the number of people who need to be vaccinated, so it is fitting that the University of Michigan has opened up the Big House for this effort,” says Preeti Malani, M.D., M.S., chief health officer at U-M and professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.
“Every health care worker we can vaccinate gets us closer to offering vaccines to all. Michigan Stadium helps us increase that capacity to vaccinate.”
Although vaccinations are not available to the general public yet, Miller says it’s important to be informed about the benefits of being vaccinated.
“We hope that everyone will be ready to get their shot when it is their turn.,” Miller says.
“The vaccine is safe and effective. It is wonderful that we are kicking off the new year distributing this life-saving shot at one of Michigan’s most recognizable buildings – The Big House.”
Information about vaccine safety, efficacy and related topics can be found at https://www.uofmhealth.org/coronavirus/vaccine-info-update.
MAIN PHOTO: (l-r) Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Dr. Mark Schlissel and Regina Byron,UPS. Photo by Joe Hallisy, Michigan Medicine