Milwaukee County COVID vaccinations fall for 3 straight weeks

NOW: Milwaukee County COVID vaccinations fall for 3 straight weeks

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Thirty-six percent of Milwaukee County residents have gotten their first COVID shot, but the number of people getting vaccinated has fallen each week since March 21.

Health officials are worried.

“We’ve seen a definitive decline in vaccinations being administered on a daily basis, from over 9,000 per day a week ago, to less than 8,000 currently,” said Dr. Ben Weston.

Eighty percent of the population is the magic number to reach herd immunity. Until we reach that level, COVID will continue spreading.

"We have a tremendous supply of vaccinations and the demand has not been meeting the vaccinations, and that is concerning to me because we have made sure we have got a plentiful supply of vaccinations," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

State data show fewer shots have been going into fewer arms in Milwaukee County. That worries Greenfield Health Officer Darren Rausch.

"We're nowhere close to the levels of community immunity that we need to squash the pandemic," said Rausch.

County level data show portions of the Metcalf Park and Walnut Hill neighborhoods have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the entire county.

"Vaccination is one of our best efforts and we want to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated," said Rausch.

But exactly why Milwaukee County's vaccination rate is falling is hard to pin down. UW-Milwaukee Nursing College Dean Kim Litwack said there's a combination of factors.

"We're seeing more activities, we're seeing lessening of some of the restrictions and there's sort of a complacency I think, if you will, of urgency to get the vaccine versus maybe it's not so bad," said Litwack.

Her clinic has met its goal of 600 daily doses, but she said there's a long way to go to get Milwaukee County where it needs to be.

"I think we just have to figure out how to keep the message strong, we need to let people know that vaccines work," said Litwack.

“Those individuals who were really excited about getting the shots, they’ve gotten it now. Now we are trying to work that large group of people that is open to receiving the shots, but might face barriers, workforce barriers or child care barriers, or sort of on the fence and so we think the most prudent way to act and the most effective way for us to act is literally to bring the shots into as many neighborhoods as we can,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. 

Surveys have shown the number of people strongly opposed to getting the vaccine has fallen.

However, the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has complicated the effort to get more people vaccinated.

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