Two walk-in COVID-19 vaccine sites to open up for people living in priority ZIP codes
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- People ages 18 and older living in one of 10 Milwaukee County ZIP codes will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines beginning Monday, March 22.
This prioritization is hitting close to home for one Wisconsin doctor who’s lived in some of those 10 ZIP codes.
“Prioritizing by ZIP code, I’m extremely excited for that and this is a win in the fight for health equity in the state,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, Milwaukee native and UW Health doctor.
Dr. Jasmine Zapata lived in three out of the 10 priority ZIP codes for 22 years before moving to Madison.
“In these specific ZIP codes we’ve seen higher rates of not just being infected with COVID-19, but being severely ill and dying from COVID-19,” she says.
“The same pattern in infection and death that mark the start of the pandemic are slowing what should be the end of the pandemic in the city of Milwaukee,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
With FEMA stepping in at the Wisconsin Center, the Milwaukee Health Department can better focus on community sites. Starting Monday, March 22, North Division High School and South Division High School will offer walk-in vaccine clinics specifically for people living in the 10 ZIP codes.
“North and South Division High School will run from March 22 until April 19, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” said Kirsten Johnson, health commissioner for the City of Milwaukee Health Department.
People in priority ZIP codes may also schedule vaccines at the Wisconsin Center or Milwaukee County’s Kosciuszko Park and Community Center, transportation is offered for people receiving county services.
“We’ve called thousands of county service users, we’ve set up hundreds of appointments based on those phone calls and every single person who’s called is offered transportation and that is arranged if needed,” said Dr. Ben Weston, medical director, Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.
“You definitely see poverty at play, you see transportation issues, you see a huge racial wealth gap that impacts every aspect of someone’s life and also is a social determinant of health,” said Dr. Zapata. “I saw that in play all the time and how racism has impacted our community.”
Dr. Zapata says while transportation and easier accessibility are all important, building trust in soon-to-be-eligible communities is a must for tackling vaccine hesitancy.
“Having not just education, but a space to have conversations to process feelings and decision-making, that’s going to be critically important,” she adds.
Johnson says the Milwaukee Health Department will also mobilize another vaccine site at their Northwest Health Center in the next week.
ZIP codes eligible for vaccine beginning Monday, 3/22:
(Must be 18+)