YPSILANTI – Washtenaw County Health Department and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital are now working together to staff the COVID-19 vaccination clinic that allows large numbers of people to be vaccinated at one central location on the east side of the county. This partnership does not increase the number of appointments currently available but positions the county to provide more vaccinations once vaccine allocations from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services increase.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic-East is located inside the EMU Convocation Center at 799 N Hewitt Rd. on the Eastern Michigan University campus in Ypsilanti, Mich. Vaccinations have been taking place at this location since Dec. 18, 2020 when the county began using the building to vaccinate health care workers and other essential workers. The site currently vaccinates up to 1,000 people a day, depending on available vaccine supply allocated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Clinics currently run Tuesday through Friday by appointment only. As vaccine supply improves, the plan is to expand clinic hours to seven days a week for 10 to 12 hours a day and increase the number of people vaccinated each day.
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, St. Joe’s will begin providing staff at this location, with the goal of transitioning its vaccine clinic currently located in the hospital lobby to this larger site. This will allow staffing and resources to be realigned to gear up for mass vaccination over the coming months.
“Running this community vaccination clinic is a huge undertaking,” said Dr. Juan Luis Marquez, medical director, Washtenaw County Health Department. “We are grateful to partner with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to both continue and expand our community vaccination efforts. As supplies increase and vaccine becomes more available to a larger number of people, we are well-equipped to get our community vaccinated as efficiently as possible.”
Through the new partnership, St. Joe’s Ann Arbor will be providing 20 paid colleagues a day to help at EMU as vaccinators, vaccine educators and vaccine preparation. The hospital also will be providing a portion of its vaccine supply to this new site, after completing current scheduled appointments taking place through February 25.
“We are excited to work together with the health department through this collaborative model which will serve as the best method to vaccinate large groups of the public as the vaccine roll-out continues,” said Dr. David Vandenberg, chief medical officer, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. “While the hospital vaccine clinic made sense when the vaccine first came out as we were focused on vaccinating our own health care workers, it is now more effective to move vaccination to a larger, more convenient location that is more accessible to our community members.”
St. Joe’s also will continue to work through its physician groups, IHA and St. Joe’s Medical Group, to provide vaccination to its patients, currently those 65 and up, who are being contacted through a randomized process to schedule appointments as vaccine becomes available.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic-East will be offering vaccines by appointment only based on vaccine availability. Registration for vaccination at this site will be done through Washtenaw County Health Department through a two-step process. Eligible individuals may request an appointment online or by phone. The request puts them in line for the next available appointment. They are contacted by email or phone when an appointment becomes available.
In addition to St. Joe’s, the National Guard and numerous volunteers are supporting these local vaccination efforts as vaccinators and non-medical volunteers. Non-medical volunteers assist with registration, flow and support throughout the clinic.
“We are pleased to support this critical community effort and the use of our outstanding Convocation Center,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith. “The expanded vaccination clinic, and ongoing partnership with the WCHD and St. Joe’s, are reflective of Eastern’s overall mission and our support of the greater community. This is yet another example of the national recognition and rationale behind the University’s Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement.”
EMU was selected as the east county site for this large-scale undertaking due to its proximity to multiple highways, bus routes, adequate parking and accessibility. A second central location is planned for the west side of the county as soon as vaccine supplies allow.
At this time, individuals designated by state and federal criteria are being vaccinated, including those 65+ and certain essential workers such as teachers and childcare workers. Appointments continue for Phase 1a individuals including health care workers, doctors, dentists and their staff.
In an effort to keep the number of people onsite to a minimum, individuals scheduled for an appointment are asked to come to the vaccine clinic by themselves unless they need assistance or require a legal guardian or a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, to accompany them. Accommodations are available for those with mobility issues. Vaccine recipients are asked to wait in an observation area for 15 minutes after vaccination. Childcare is not available onsite, however scheduled adults with children will be allowed to enter the vaccination clinic so that as many eligible adults can be vaccinated as possible. Masks and social distancing will be required. Individuals with appointments will be asked to arrive promptly at their scheduled time to avoid unnecessary delays.
Parking and transportation
Free parking is available in the parking lot outside the EMU Convocation Center, which is accessible from Hewitt road. Enter the building through Entrance D. EMU Convocation Center can be reached by public transportation.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit either Saint Joseph Mercy Health System at https://www.stjoeshealth.org/vaccine or the Washtenaw County Health Department at www.washtenaw.org/covid19vaccine.