Milwaukee Health Department shifts vaccine strategy to mobile clinics as vaccinations plateau

NOW: Milwaukee Health Department shifts vaccine strategy to mobile clinics as vaccinations plateau

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Commissioner of Health Kirsten Johnson said Monday, May 24, shutting down the vaccine clinic at the Wisconsin Center will have minimal impact on vaccination rates.

The Wisconsin Center clinic ends Friday, May 28, and Johnson said so few people are getting appointments there it will hardly matter. Meanwhile, the city has plans for 36 different "pop-up" or mobile clinics.

“The health department is trying, really again, to do our best to meet people where they are," Johnson said. “It needs to be convenient. There need to be no barriers. It needs to, you know, meet them where they are.”

Johnson said this can help solve problems of people not having enough time to make it to a mass vaccination site, as well as answer any questions people have about the vaccine.

The ultimate goal is reaching herd immunity, something DHS indicated won't be accomplished at the state's current pace until September or October.

As of Monday, the most recent DHS data showed nearly 41 percent of Wisconsinites have received both doses of the vaccine. Herd immunity requires 70-80 percent of a population to be vaccinated.

“The idea of herd immunity is, we get 80 percent of people vaccinated, there’s not enough COVID-19 going around, so those people who are not immune, or not fully immune, are going to be protected by the absence of the disease," said Dr. Matt Anderson, senior medical director of primary care at UW Health. "In the same way somebody who isn’t vaccinated against measles is protected because the rest of us are.”

Johnson also pointed to vaccine incentives as one local initiative to boost vaccine numbers in Milwaukee. The city plans to host pop-up clinics with the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday and Thursday, giving complimentary Brewers tickets to those who receive the vaccine.

Johnson said those kinds of efforts require cooperation from more than just health officials.

“There’s lots organizations, businesses, companies," Johnson said. "Everyone is trying to get the people that they work with and know and love vaccinated, and I think it’s just a collective effort.”

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