Milwaukee health clinic hosts 3-day event to get more Native Americans vaccinated from COVID-19

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A southside health clinic is pushing for more Native Americans in Milwaukee County to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Doctors there say tribal members are more at risk for the virus.

Tuesday, March 9, kicked off a three-day community vaccine event at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center.

Over these days, they expect to give doses to about 400 people.

“We’re really at that critical point where the numbers are going down and this is probably one of the most better times to really crush this virus in the Native community," Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center CEO Dr. Lyle Ignace said.

Ignace said COVID-19 can more easily spread in tribal communities where many generations live in the same space.

The Wisconsin DHS reports Native Americans in the state are 1.5 times more likely to die compared to white Wisconsinites.

Nationwide, the CDC reports Native Americans are nearly four times as likely to be hospitalized.

Ignace says access to transportation is one barrier for tribal members to getting the vaccine.

Other members say communication and trust in the American health system are factors.

“We’re all related, and in those relations, we’re affected greatly, even by one infection or two infections. When there’s health complications,m everybody’s implicated by that who’s related to that person, not just by blood but through society," Waukesha resident and tribal member Mark Denning said.

Depending on the success of this event, the clinic may offer others.

They currently have a waiting list for those who could not register for this event.

The three-day event runs through Thursday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Transportation may be available for those who are in need.

Online registration is required online for those 18 and older, who are tribal members or their descendants.

To register, click here or call 414-316-3737.

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