News Story

Vaccination Rate Lags Sharply In Detroit

Some national media point finger at lower uptake in conservative Michigan towns, but silent on Detroit

Before COVID vaccines became widely available, the state of Michigan’s COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities released a report describing extra efforts the state has taken to mitigate the pandemic among minorities.

That was in December. But even as vaccines have become universally available, ongoing efforts to get residents of Detroit immunized are struggling.

Motown residents aren’t rushing to get the shot.

Just 150,281 Detroit residents are fully vaccinated, representing 27% of the population age 12 and older. Another 194,687 Detroit residents have had at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine, or 35%.

Those figures are far below the statewide totals of 46.8% fully vaccinated and 53.8% having at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Efforts to boost vaccination include the Detroit Tigers, who are offering free tickets, beginning June 8, to anyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

The city of Detroit’s health department has a mobile vaccine unit bringing shots directly into neighborhoods, according to WDIV.

Yet, the people of Detroit appear unsold on the value of immunization, despite government warnings that African Americans are considered more vulnerable to the coronavirus than the general population.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 78.3% of Detroit’s population of 670,031 is African American.

Some parts of Michigan that vote conservative and are also lagging in vaccine and have attracted national media attention. A Los Angeles Times April 23 story focused on low vaccination numbers in Hillsdale County.

“The nation is watching,” the newspaper declared, linking what it called COVID "denialism” to support for President Donald Trump.

But support for the former president can’t explain the low vaccination rate in Detroit. Trump received just 12,654 votes there in November 2020, versus 233,908 for President Joe Biden.

While immunization rates in Hillsdale County are lower than the state averages, the county is still running ahead of Detroit, with 36.8% of residents having received one shot and 33% fully vaccinated.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.