Two of Milwaukee's largest vaccine clinics to close; focus shifts to smaller, mobile sites

NOW: Two of Milwaukee’s largest vaccine clinics to close; focus shifts to smaller, mobile sites

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As some of Milwaukee's largest vaccine clinics close this week, the focus now shifts to smaller sites.

"That means that our victories are not measured by 1,000 vaccinations per hour or day. They're measured by dozens. So for us to get 30, 40, 50 vaccines at an outing is a good thing because it shows you the incremental progress that we could make," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett during a media briefing on Tuesday, May 25.

People are still getting vaccinated every day in the Milwaukee area. The vaccine clinics at the Wisconsin Center and Kosciuszko Community Center will close this week, but there will still be places to go get vaccinated.

The Northwest Health Center and South Side Health Center will still have vaccines available. Anyone who goes to the Wisconsin Center this week for their first dose will schedule their second dose at one of the health centers.

Shana Brown, the community resource navigator for the non-profit Health Connections, Inc., said transportation has been one of the largest barriers she's seen to people getting vaccinated.

"Some people have expressed that going to large spaces like the Wisconsin Center, they may not feel comfortable or don't know how to catch the bus to get to those places," she said. 

The non-profit has been focusing on smaller, mobile sites where they vaccinate a handful of people daily. On Tuesday, they held a walk-in clinic at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church.

"We've had a couple members who did say they were more trustworthy of it being here as opposed to other places, so that's a plus for us," said the church's senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Donna Childs.

In Milwaukee County, vaccine numbers are still increasing every day while COVID-19 cases are trending downward.

However, Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, said the county continues to see racial disparities in the vaccine rollout.

"Racial equity is not a separate issue (from COVID-19), but one that has been interwoven with the trajectory and the impact of this virus over the last 16 months," Weston said.

He cited data showing about half the white population of the county has at least one dose, compared to a third of the Hispanic population and a fourth of the African-American population.

Health Connections, Inc. is looking for clinical and non-clinic volunteers to help in its vaccination efforts.

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