Milwaukee County has reached 'end of extreme eagerness' in vaccine rollout, leaders say

NOW: Milwaukee County has reached ’end of extreme eagerness’ in vaccine rollout, leaders say

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Health Department is replacing its vaccine clinics at North and South Division high schools with sites at Southside Health Center and Northwest Health Center.

The vaccine clinics at the two health centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, city officials said during a media briefing on Tuesday, April 20. No appointment is necessary.

Walk-in clinics are also available at the Wisconsin Center and the Kosciuszko Community Center.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the city has a robust supply of vaccines, and now they need more people willing to get them.

"I know there are lots of people who are thinking about it. And I want people to make a good fact based decision. And I want that fact based decision to be: 'Yes, I should get the shot.' So please get good information," Barrett said.

Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, said the county is seeing a slow but steady rise in COVID-19 cases, and the numbers of people getting vaccinated are slowing.

"As those willing and able populations becomes smaller and smaller, we're looking to shift focus," Weston said.

County leaders said their goal is to make sure people who need more information about the vaccine can get it.

"I don't think that we've reached a wall of hesitancy. I think we've reached the end of extreme eagerness among those who are able and willing like to travel and take time to get the vaccine," Weston said.

Weston said he is also hopeful the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be brought back into the mix in the near future.

"As we work to break down barriers to vaccine in the county, part of that is certainly having an effective and safe single dose vaccine to make it easier to vaccinate hard to reach populations. That vaccine, of course, is Johnson & Johnson," he said.

Leaders at UMOS on Milwaukee's south side said they're seeing a variety of reasons people are hesitant, including historical mistrust and misinformation.

"There is some information about 'The vaccine is going to give me COVID-19' or 'the vaccine is going to change my DNA.' All of that misinformation leads towards others being hesitant," said Rod Ritcherson, a spokesperson for UMOS.

Ritcherson said the best way to combat misinformation is help from faith leaders and elected officials.

"That's why we are encouraging those members -- those well-known, respected and trusted members of the Milwaukee community -- to step up and encourage their constituents, their congregations, their family members, their friends to get vaccinated," he said.

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