Milwaukee County announces at-home vaccination program, updates mask order

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley announced Thursday, May 20, amendments to the county's face mask order, as well as the launch of an at-home vaccination program. 

As of June 1, the County’s Universal Face Mask Order is being changed to the following for all fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people:

“Since the pandemic began, the County has made a careful, measured and intentional effort to protect the health and wellbeing of all Milwaukee County residents by leaning into equitable strategies and policies,” said County Executive David Crowley. “Our commitment to data-driven decisions that are in the best interest of the broader County community continues today.”

Milwaukee has also launched "Healthy Homes," Milwaukee County's free at-home COVID-19 vaccine program. 

“It shouldn’t be the case that you’re not vaccinated or your general healthcare takes a bad turn just because you cannot get access,” Crowley says.

According to a news release, Healthy Homes will help ensure individuals who have difficulty leaving their home have access to a COVID-19 vaccination. Nationally, approximately 6% of individuals on Medicare have difficulty leaving their homes. In Milwaukee County, that represents about 9,500 community members. 

“The best path forward for Milwaukee County is for as many members of our community to be vaccinated as soon as possible, which means we must do everything we can to ensure that anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get one,” said Crowley. “We believe that roughly 60-percent of the (homebound) population have already received their vaccine, we also know that the remaining individuals may be unreached or unknown.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division on Aging in Milwaukee County is taking steps to find more people who are homebound through subsidized housing sites, residential coordinators and Meals on Wheels clients.

“Long list of people that we’ve already called and will be calling to determine interest in whether they would like to get vaccinated in their home,” said Jon Janowski, Director of DHS Division on Aging. 

The Healthy Homes program is part of a partnership with different community agencies, including the Milwaukee Health Department. 

“I think there’s eight different organizations right now that we’re working with to set them up as vaccinators,” says Dr. Ben Weston, medical director at Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Crowley says the program was made possible from a $200,000 grant from Wisconsin DHS. Some communities taking part in Healthy Homes will be prioritized. 

“Those are the communities that combine high vulnerability with low rates of vaccination,” Dr. Weston adds. 

“Sometimes it’s just being able to get to the pharmacy that’s what’s causing people to not get vaccinated, so by us removing these obstacles we’re gonna get to the herd immunity as quickly as possible,” says Hashim Zaibak, owner of Hayat Pharmacy. 

Milwaukee based Hayat Pharmacy says they’ve received referrals from the Milwaukee Health Department, and each day they are doing 4 to 5 at-home vaccinations. The county’s Office of Emergency Management say they’ve done 50 in the last few weeks.

“People that are homebound usually have a high risk of getting complications from COVID,” adds Zaibak. "In order to be successful at this we have to work with the different groups and see what needs they have and we have to be flexible." 

If you or someone you know needs an at-home vaccination CLICK HERE or call 414-257-SHOT (7468) if you need help filling out the form.

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