DETROIT (May 17, 2021) – As the last COVID-19 vaccinations were administered at Ford Field Monday, organizers celebrated the success of the mass vaccination site as a national model for getting shots in people’s arms.
The site exceeded daily targets during an eight-week run that began on March 24. More than 275,000 doses of vaccine had been administered to date, with vaccine still to be given in the closing hours. It was perhaps fitting that the last vaccine administered at the site was to a 73-year-old man whose last name is Ford.
Steven Rockoff, D.O., Service Chief of Emergency Medicine at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital who served as Medical Director at the site, said Ford Field was a “top performer” of the 32 federal vaccine sites for vaccine administrations.
“Our goal was to maximize our efforts to reach as many people as possible. COVID cases were surging in Michigan at the time so it was a race to save as many lives as possible,” Dr. Rockoff said during remarks at a virtual media briefing.
He said vaccines were administered to people of diverse backgrounds as well as to people with special needs. Nearly 800 translations in 24 languages were provided to people who needed interpreter assistance.
At the time the site opened, more than 3 million doses of vaccine had been administered statewide. Today, more than 4 million doses of vaccine have been administered across the state and “Ford Field has helped drive that increase of shots in arms,” Dr. Rockoff said.
The site was managed by the State of Michigan and Federal Emergency Management Agency, in partnership with Henry Ford, Detroit Lions, Meijer and Protect Michigan Commission. Other support partners included the city of Detroit and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
Dr. Rockoff was joined at the media briefing by Kerry Ebersole Singh, Director of Protect Michigan Commission; Rod Wood, President and CEO of the Detroit Lions; and Kevin Sligh Sr., FEMA Region 5 Acting Regional Administrator.
The majority of vaccine administered at Ford Field was the two-dose Pfizer, whose largest manufacturing site is in Kalamazoo. Roughly 1,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine were administered in the last two weeks.
“The Ford Field operation represents a team effort,” Ebersole Singh said. “We are absolutely thrilled by the progress we made at such an important time as we worked to protect our communities around the state.”
She said 99.9% of the site’s vaccine allotment was administered and that any leftover vaccine would be reallocated for use to another site in Michigan. FEMA’s Sligh said the federal government would continue to provide ongoing support across the state as needed. He stressed that plenty of vaccine is available in Michigan for those who are unvaccinated. “Do your part and get vaccinated,” he said.
Dr. Rockoff commended the collaboration of all the federal, state and local partners including the Henry Ford team members who worked at the site and provided “exceptional expertise and oversight.” They included:
- Rox Gatia, Director of Pharmacy Services at Henry Ford Hospital
- Valerie Gunn, Director of Regional Ambulatory Operations
“The collaboration of our partners was truly amazing,” Dr. Rockoff said. “We came together to do one mission and it felt like we had worked together many times before.”
Rod Wood of the Lions said the organization was “privileged” to host what was the state’s largest onsite vaccine clinic in Michigan and be part of a “historic initiative.” He said the team was eager to have fans in the stands at Ford Field when the NFL season opens in September.
“Game day last year at Ford Field was not same without our fans,” Wood said. “We know how important sports are to this city . . . we’re eager to get everybody back in person watching their favorite team and doing so safely. Hopefully this vaccination clinic is a big part of what gets us there.”
MEDIA CONTACT: David Olejarz / [email protected] / 313-303-0606
About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
The largest of these is Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a quaternary care research and teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and multi-organ transplants. The health system also provides comprehensive, best-in-class care for cancer at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, and orthopedics and sports medicine at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine – both in Detroit.
As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System annually trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.
Henry Ford’s not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP), provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.
Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.