The Corner

Health Care

Detroit Mayor Turns Down 6,200 Doses of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

I’m sorry, city of Detroit, but if you elect a mayor who is dumb enough to reject perfectly good vaccines, there’s not much that those of us outside the city can do to help you.

The city of Detroit declined its allotted Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, and Mayor Mike Duggan doubled down Thursday on his reasoning for sticking with the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.

“Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best,” Duggan said in a news conference. “And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that residents of the city of Detroit get the best.”

Detroit would have received 6,200 of the J&J one-shot doses, but declined to do so and did not get more Moderna and Pfizer doses to make up for it, according to Bob Wheaton, public information officer in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. They went to “other health departments that had lower coverage rates for those age 65 years or older,” Wheaton wrote in an email.

Is this guy out of his mind? The FDA finds the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 72 percent effective, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines 95 percent effective — but you need two doses of the latter vaccines to get the full effect. That’s 6,200 seniors the city could have vaccinated.

According to the latest figures, Wayne County, which includes Detroit, has vaccinated just 43.5 percent of residents age 65 and older — and just 43 percent of those 75 and older! Duggan, your city isn’t in a position where you can afford to turn down any doses of any working vaccine! And yet, that’s what he insists upon doing:

“I believe we will have a Moderna and Pfizer vaccine for every Detroiter who wants one. The day may come when we have more Detroiters asking for vaccines than we have Moderna, Pfizer, in which case we’ll set up a Johnson & Johnson site … I don’t see that in the next couple weeks,” he said. “I’d say for the foreseeable future, I feel confident that we will have a Moderna and Pfizer vaccine for everyone who wants to get vaccinated.”

I’m sorry, Detroit, but with leadership like this, not even Robocop can save you.


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