Milwaukee County leaders get COVID-19 vaccine: 'Everybody's got to do their part'

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County leaders say they're keeping equity at the forefront as they encourage thousands of people across 10 ZIP codes to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To help reinforce that message, three leaders leaders got their shots on Tuesday, March 23.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson got the vaccine Tuesday afternoon at the Kosciuszko Community Center. They invited members of the media to help encourage members of the public to get the vaccine.

"We wanted to do this on camera so folks know that this is safe and the efficacy is high," Crowley said. "This is important for me and my family. Before I came here, I made sure to have a conversation with my daughters and my wife about the importance of just science and medicine in general."

Nicholson said she looks forward to hugging her grandmother after she gets her second dose.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous about this vaccine and I understand the apprehension. I understand the apprehension at home especially as it relates to the African-American community and our history with the medical sector," she said.

County leaders highlighted the ZIP code program as they got their shots. It is a city and county effort to combat disparities in the vaccine rollout.

People who live in one of the following zip codes are able to go to new walk-in clinics at North and South Division high schools: 5320453205, 53206, 53209, 53215, 53216, 53218, 53223, 53224, 53233. No appointment is necessary.

Monday was the first day of the new walk-in clinics. Mayor Tom Barrett said more than 400 people were vaccinated at each site on the first day.

Carlos Rivera got his shot at South Division High School on Tuesday. He said he made the decision because he knows firsthand the lasting effects of the COVID-19 virus.

"I lived through it but I'm still going through it," Rivera said. "People have to understand that COVID attacks people totally different. Big strong people -- it'll put them down and kill them."

People who live in a priority ZIP code and people with certain medical conditions (as defined by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services) can also get vaccinated at the Kosciuszko Community Center. Appointments are required there. 

Johnson said along with Nicholson and Crowley, he wants to encourage people of color in the priority ZIP codes to get the vaccines.

"The shot that we all got in our arms today helps to move our community forward," Johnson said. "Everybody that we talk to wants to get back to some semblance of normalcy in their everyday life. And in order for us to get there, everybody's got to pitch in. Everybody's got to do their part."

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