LIVONIA, Mich (WXYZ) — It’s day three of vaccinations at the Livonia Civic Park Senior Center, and those with appointments are getting in line to get their shot.
“Oh we’re excited," said Livonia resident Ilene Suchora. "We’re excited. We’ve been waiting for it.”
Ilene and Tom Suchora had been looking all over for the vaccine until they finally got a spot this week in their City of Livonia.
“74-years-old, gotta watch out for yourself now,” Tom said.
As Wayne County works to open sites around the county, Livonia opened their own. They have 2,500 doses to give out this week and are vaccinating at a pace of one resident every minute.
“We've actually known that we were capable of doing this since the beginning of the pandemic," said Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan. "We've been practicing for it, exercising for it, putting plans in place.”
To make this work, Livonia simply repurposed what they already had. City employees and volunteers were put in charge of appointments and check-ins, so within minutes of arriving residents like the Suchora’s can roll up their sleeves as Livonia firefighters give the shots.
“We wanted to help out and lighten the load from what the County is doing with the Health Department,” said Livonia Fire Chief Dave Heavener. "It's just been a tremendous team effort to put this all together in Livonia.”
It’s not just employees playing different roles, even websites were re-purposed. As some towns struggled to book appointments by phone, Livonia booked 70% of theirs online.
“We simply took our parks and recreation registration platform that we use to register people to swimming classes, and tennis classes and soccer programs, and we converted it to register people to get the vaccine,” Miller Brosnan said.
Miller Brosnan says other cities and towns can do this too, providing a sense of hope in a matter of minutes.
"A relief. It’s a relief," Ilene said after receiving her shot. "I just hope this thing goes away.”
Appointments are for Livonia residents only and are booked for the week. The city hopes to be able to offer more vaccines next week if available. You can learn more at vaccinatelivonia.org.