Health officials address COVID-19 vaccine questions, concerns during virtual town hall

NOW: Health officials address COVID-19 vaccine questions, concerns during virtual town hall

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Health Department hosted a virtual town hall on COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday night, Feb. 10.

The town hall addressed questions, concerns and upcoming vaccination plans.

Community members were able to ask vaccination questions from the comfort of their own home -- like when will I be able to get the vaccine? And when are more coming?

"We are trying to get them out as quickly as we can, as efficiently as we can and as safely as we can," Mayor Barrett said.

The panel included health officials and experts to answer all things COVID-19 and debunk vaccine myths -- like whether steps were skipped in the making of the vaccine and if it's a shot we'll need to get annually.

"The answer is we don't know yet," said Dr. Heather Paradis, medical director for the Milwaukee Health Department. "What we know less about is how long the immunity from the vaccination will last."

"We needed a vaccine fast," said RN Julia Means of Ascension Health. "There were no steps skipped."

Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson says right now, there is a shortage of supply, and vaccine scheduling fills up quickly.

Jackson says the next groups to be vaccinated beginning March 1 include education and child care workers and select essential worker groups.

"Vaccine doses that we are getting into the state and into the city is not as much as what our demand is," Jackson said. 

"As soon as we know when the timetable is for the next group, we are going to share that," said Mayor Barrett.

During the town hall, testimonials from community members were shared on what their vaccination experience was like, to help build confidence in the community.

"This virus is very dangerous, and it doesn't care who you are, how health you are or what immunity you have," said Means. 

Mayor Barrett hopes the town hall empowers the community to make an educated decision when it comes to vaccines.

"We wanna provide you with the latest verified information so you're able to make the best decision for you and your family," Barrett said. 

Dr. Paradis says the next vaccine to be approved will likely be Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. 

She says we may see it come out as soon as next month. 

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