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NEWS | April 14, 2021

Guard helps vaccinate thousands of Detroit residents

By Master Sgt. David Kujawa, Michigan National Guard

DETROIT – The city of Detroit’s effort to vaccinate all residents who want the COVID-19 vaccine requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. At the mass vaccination clinic at TCF Center, the Michigan National Guard helps vaccinate an average of 4,000 people a day.

Once a request for assistance is received by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the MING supports community health care organizations with logistical and medical assets for COVID-19 vaccinations across the state.

“The TCF Center is ideal for vaccinating thousands of residents daily. However, it’s not the facility that matters – it’s those working it,” said Ali Fakih, a supervisor for the city of Detroit Health Department. “The Michigan National Guard is the best of the best, and we could not do it without them.”

As many as 10 Guard COVID-19 Vaccination/Testing Teams (CVTT) from Task Force Red Lion perform various roles at the TCF Center, serving as vaccinators, administrative assistants and post-vaccination observers to keep the process flowing smoothly.

“The 28 Soldiers I supervise work long and hard hours inputting data into the Michigan Care Improvement Registry system,” said Master Sgt. Kenneth Crawford, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 1073rd Support Maintenance Company and NCOIC of operations for Task Force Red Lion. “The team is dedicated to keeping up with the growing influx of residents receiving the vaccine, as all residents over the age of 16 are now eligible to receive the vaccine in Michigan.”

The TCF Center had been a drive-through vaccination center only, but on April 5, an indoor walk-up option was added to expand daily vaccination capacity from 4,000 to 8,000 doses.

“MING has been instrumental at helping us handle the increase with the walk-up option now available for our residents,” Fakih said. “The CVTTs are engaged with the entire process, helping the wait time to be minimum for those receiving the vaccine.”

The MING is also supporting COVID-19 testing, other vaccination clinics and food banks in Detroit.