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Health Care

Mayor Who Scoffed at Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Now Faces Second-Worst Outbreak in U.S.

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit speaks during a press briefing in Washington, February 12, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

You may recall that back in early March, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan idiotically declared, twice, that his city did not want any doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and that it would only use the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. Thankfully, Duggan backtracked.

Over the last two weeks, Detroit has experienced the second-worst outbreak in the nation, with 77 new cases for every 100,000 residents. The community with the highest rate is Jackson, Mich., about 80 miles away. As noted yesterday, of the 17 American communities where cases are rising fastest, 15 are in Michigan.

Michigan is the worst-hit state in the country, and the worst-hit corner of the state is the thumb of the mitten, including Detroit. And guess which city is trailing in its vaccination efforts?

A majority of southeast Michigan counties are vaccinating residents at twice the rate Detroit is and that gap is threatening to prolong the pandemic in Michigan’s largest city and forcing health officials to find alternatives to mass-vaccination sites like the TCF Center and Ford Field.

About 1 in 5, or 21 percent, of Detroiters have received at least one shot, according to the city’s vaccine dashboard, compared to 33 percent of residents in Macomb County, 40 percent in suburban Wayne County and 41% in Oakland and Washtenaw counties. Statewide, 37 percent of all residents have at least one dose.

Duggan argues that the city’s low vaccination rate is an unavoidable consequence of poverty. “The wealthier the community, the higher the vaccination rate. That’s just the case.

The Biden administration does not, at this point, support sending a higher percentage of doses to Michigan.


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