State health officials want to help match employers with vaccinators for employee clinics

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services wants to partner with employers who would be willing to hold a vaccine clinic either on or off site, it’s another program the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force hopes will get them to their goal.

“I think there’s been a lot of progress in making and developing a system in an environment right now where anyone who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer at DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

The Wisconsin DHS is offering to match employers of any size with vaccinators that would come in to host a clinic. This program hopes to not only vaccinate employees at a workplace, but also reach family members.

“We want 80-percent of people vaccinated. We’re at a low 40-percent of people who have been fully vaccinated, that’s not high enough,” Dr. Westergaard says.

In an update Thursday, May 27, state health officials said 41.5% of Wisconsin residents have been fully vaccinated. In order to reduce barriers, the state COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has come up with guidance to distribute vaccinations for employers who know their workers want to get the shot.

“They’re engaging as many partners as we can, including large employers and small employers,” adds Dr. Westergaard.

“I think the thing that we should be thinking about is yes, we can break down that barrier, but that’s really going to be for those people who know they want to get vaccinated but have barriers getting to a different site, I’m not sure how big that group is at this point,” said Dr. Matthew Anderson, senior medical director at UW Health.

Dr. Anderson believes the most effective ways to continue ramping up vaccinations are clinics where people can have their questions and concerns answered by medical providers.

“I think that one of the things that we need to be thinking about is how do we get these into clinics so that we can have those provider-to-patient conversations to help answer those questions, which are going to be harder to do in an on-site employer-based location,” he says.

The Wisconsin DHS says another part to having a successful employer or organization-based vaccination location is increasing vaccine confidence within.

“That’s the work that remains to be done, is we’ve got good supply of vaccine, but we need to promote confidence in the vaccine process,” Dr. Westergaard adds.

Employers and organizations who are interested can fill out a vaccination clinic matching survey by clicking here. For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Implementation Program’s guidance for Wisconsin employers, click here.

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