Dr. Howard Korman, a self-described “vaccine-activist,” created an avenue for high schoolers 16 years and older to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
To ensure Farber Hebrew Day School students who were eligible for, and wanted, COVID-19 vaccines received them, Dr. Howard Korman put on two hats — along with his regularly worn kippah.
A member of the Southfield school’s medical advisory board for the COVID program, as well as a self-described “vaccine-activist,” he created an avenue for high schoolers 16 years and older to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. And that group quickly expanded into a larger one within Farber and in the community and now includes those 12-to-15 years old.
The injections were administered at a drive-thru clinic behind the Millennium Medical Center in Farmington Hills, run by Michigan Healthcare Professionals (MHP) that began as a COVID-19 testing site and now also offers the vaccines. The clinic was created by MHP board member and Millennium internist Dr. Barry Feldman and his wife, Lesley, with the assistance of Sabrina Dobbins from TRIARQ Health, and Giovanni and Joe Khalifeh of Biotech Laboratories.
When the clinic offered to create openings for the Farber high schoolers to be vaccinated, Korman contacted head of school Dr. Joshua Levisohn, and the opportunity was given to the students just days before the slotted times.
“I knew they would need parental clearance and those under the age of 18 would need to be accompanied by a parent,” Korman said. “But they made it happen. They came on the day reserved for them. Some came with siblings. A few more students came at a later date and they all came back for the second vaccine.”
Appointments were set up for any staff members who wanted them, and soon students’ family members were included also.
“I’m always talking about how to keep the population safe and have been an activist in getting people vaccinated,” said Korman, a urologist and president of Comprehensive Urology, a division of the multi-specialty MHP, of which he is a board member.
Going beyond the school, he and his wife, Michal, brought more than 150 individuals to the site for vaccines. “We reached out to many spheres,” he said. “We called everyone we knew and asked them to see if they knew anyone else not yet vaccinated. They referred their friends, their housekeepers, their neighbors. Michal signed up members from her biking group, and we told the Comcast guy who came to our house about the vaccination site. And it was made available to groups in our synagogue, Young Israel of Southfield, through our rabbi.”
He says the number of people who have been to the site since it opened in March 2020 is “staggering.”
“Approximately 60,000 individuals have received more than 100,000 PCR tests,” Korman said. “Many have been tested multiple times. And more than 8,000 patients have been vaccinated to date at the site.”
A government grant covers the cost of both the vaccines and COVID PCR tests for those without health insurance coverage.
“This is our path out of this,” Korman said. “Vaccines have been miraculously effective based on all data from Israel. This is our path to getting back to our lives again.
“The vaccine and our ability to offer it is a gift that fell into our laps,” he said. “We need to get the message out to everyone; everyone who works for us; everyone who comes into our homes.”
Korman added a notice to the younger members of our community, saying, “Now that the vaccine is available to anyone 12 years and older, Dr. Feldman and his heroic MHP team will be armed and ready — for your arms.”
To register and book online for the COVID-19 vaccine or testing at the Michigan Healthcare Professionals COVID clinic, go to: obuzz.net.