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Metro Health opens vaccine site that will focus on underserved populations

The Community Clinic, located on 36th Street SE, near Eastern Avenue, is Metro Health's first vaccine distribution site outside the main hospital.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Metro Health - University of Michigan has opened a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Grand Rapids that will focus on underserved populations.

It's called the Community Clinic and it is located at 781 36th Street SE, near Eastern Avenue. The clinic is Metro Health's first vaccine distribution site outside of the main hospital in Wyoming.

Metro Health says the site was chosen to expand across vulnerable groups, with the goal of helping those hit hardest by the pandemic.

“Many of the patients who rely on the Community Clinic face racial and social disparities that put them at greater risk for contracting COVID-19,” said Lori Price, Chief Operating Officer, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health. “Those same disparities contribute to underlying conditions that can add to the severity of the illness. These patients need and deserve the protection of the vaccine.”

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Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths are disproportionately higher for non-white populations. There is also a disparity when it comes to impoverished communities.

According to Metro Health, 60% of clinic patients in 2020 were from non-white backgrounds, including 34% who listed their background as Black or African American and 11.5% who listed their ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino. In surveys with the hospital network, most patients said they rely on Medicaid or Medicare for their health care, and some said they have no insurance.

“Metro Health designed the Community Clinic to address these and other challenges faced in the community. In addition to primary care, services include family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, osteopathic manipulative medicine, general surgery, orthopedics and urology,” a release from Metro Health reads.

RELATED: West Michigan clinic limited by lack of COVID-19 vaccine supply

“The clinic has a multilingual staff and comprehensive services, including social workers and a nurse case manager. Staff helps with Medicaid applications and accessing medication and medical financial assistance. The clinic also provides an emergency food pantry.”

COVID-19 vaccine distribution at the clinic will follow state guidelines for eligibility, and patients will be able to schedule via phone or MyChart. Clinic staff will also reach out directly to the most at-risk patients. After eligible Community Clinic patients have the opportunity to receive the vaccine, the site will open to the general public.

“Through these programs and others, like home-visit education to reduce infant mortality, we are working to improve the health and wellbeing of all in our community,” said Price. “Providing access to COVID-19 vaccines is an important part of our work. The only way to defeat the pandemic is by making sure this protection is available to everyone.”


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