Thousands vaccinated at Milwaukee walk-in clinics as eligibility opens up to 16+

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Anyone in the state 16 and older became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, April 5. A number of area clinics saw thousands of people both young and old looking for the shot.

The Milwaukee Public Market vaccine clinic took both appointments and walk-ins. Hayat Pharmacy, who hosted the site, says at least 500 people came through.

“This is the day that we’ve been waiting for, this is the day when we don’t have to ask the question, we don’t have to do the screenings,” said Hashim Zaibak, owner of Hayat Pharmacy.

Zaibak says Monday was a busy day at both the Milwaukee Public Market and Hayat Headquarters, seeing more than a thousand people combined. The Milwaukee Public Market vaccinated until 8 p.m. Monday evening to accommodate people with working schedules.

“To take care of them, so if somebody’s working until 4 or 5 p.m., they have enough time,” adds Zaibak.

Doctors say there is a definite need for more evening vaccination clinics.

“That’s on all of us, federal government, state governor and local vaccinators to make sure we’re not having any barriers to vaccine access,” says Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health.

Zaibak says the clinics brought dozens of teens in, including 18-year-old Ella Wareham. Wareham says she’s grateful to finally be able to get the vaccine Monday and play a part in keeping others safe. Zaibak expects Saturday to bring in even more teens than Monday’s clinics.

“I was excited, just happy that it’s finally opened up and everyone can get it and do it,” said Wareham. “I play sports so I’m really excited to be able to play against other teams and maybe have concerts come back and stuff.”

“I’m really excited to see more of the young people,” adds Zaibak. “The 16, 17 and the 18-year-old teens who are excited about the vaccine.”

The U.S. is on a robust rollout, now doing millions of shots a day. Zaibak says once everyone who wants a vaccine is able to get one, he wants to shift the focus on vaccine hesitancy to get a majority of the community vaccinated.

“That’s the time when we feel like we’ve done our job as vaccinators, and now we need to change hats and wear new hats as the educators,” said Zaibak.

“Even if we don’t reach that number, the more people we got vaccinated, the more likely that COVID slows down,” Dr. Pothof says.

Hayat Pharmacy will host another vaccine clinic at the Milwaukee Public Market on April 26 and May 3 from noon to 8 p.m. Their headquarters at 813 W. Layton Ave will also have clinics April 6 and April 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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