Detroit expands suitability of Covid vaccine for car workers

Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan

Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

DETROIT – Manufacturing workers in the city, such as car workers, are now eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine without any restrictions such as age or proof of existing conditions.

The expanded suitability for Detroit manufacturers is a major extension for enrolling car workers for vaccination following similar actions by municipalities such as Boone County in Illinois. It should help keep employees safe and automated.

The United Auto Workers union estimates that at least 10,000 of its members work in Detroit. A total number of manufacturers living in the city were not immediately available.

The rollout of the two doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is being done by Detroit in a conference center as well as large manufacturing operations clinics, starting with two SUV plants for Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler. Manufacturers living or working in the city are eligible, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced Tuesday.

“The car companies and UAW have done an excellent job so far, but nothing is as good as vaccination,” Duggan said at a news conference, during which UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada received a vaccination.

Detroit carmakers took extensive safety measures and guidelines for social distance last year during a two-month shutdown of their plants to reduce Covid-19 distribution. The implemented safety measures included plastic barriers, masks and other things, such as temperature screens and protocols when entering and leaving the plants.

“Workers in manufacturing, whether they are unions or not, were really working there during the whole pandemic, and it was not easy,” Estrada said. “We’ve had disease in our plants and deaths, so it’s incredibly important.”

According to union spokesman Brian Rothenberg, less than 30 of the approximately 400,000 members of the UAW have died as a result of Covid-19. He said the union was working “with the White House, governors and all our partners on the vaccine distribution plans.”

Stellantis employees in Boone County, Illinois, were one of the first car workers to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. The company said it was “looking forward to working with other health departments to make vaccines available to the rest of our Stellantis employees according to local distribution plans.”

“Today’s announcement is an important step in protecting our employees and our communities so that we can return to the lives we all want to live,” Stellantis said in a statement.

The Stellantis plants in Detroit, including a new plant that is not fully operational, are one of the largest manufacturing operations in the city. The company initially expects to provide 8,000 people with vaccination.

General Motors also owns a large plant in the city, but the factory will only temporarily manufacture vehicles later this year due to construction.

Detroit administered 90,170 doses – 70.7% of the doses it received – and scheduled more than 52,800 appointments, according to to his website.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada receives a vaccination against Covid-19 on March 2, 2021 during a press conference with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

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