4 New Community-Based COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics To Open In Wisconsin

Eligible Wisconsin Residents Can Make Appointments At Any Of The Clinics

A person in a coat enters through glass doors near a sign that says "Vaccination Site, Enter Here."
A person enters the Blackhawk Technical College community-based coronavirus vaccination clinic Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Janesville, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Over the next two months, Wisconsin will open four new community-based vaccination clinics, Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday.

One clinic will be split between Barron and Douglas counties, while the others will be located in Racine, La Crosse and Marathon counties. A community-based vaccination clinic opened at Blackhawk Technical College in Rock County last week.

Any Wisconsin resident eligible for vaccination may schedule an appointment at any of the clinics.

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Northcentral Technical College is the proposed site for the clinic in Marathon County, said Judy Burrows, public information officer for the county’s health department. She said its location — at the crossroads of Interstate 39 and Highway 29 — makes it accessible for people driving from out of town. It’s also located along local bus routes.

“It really feels like we are getting close to the end of this,” she said. “Vaccine will finally be available for everyone soon, and I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel about the future for all of us.”

Vaccines will still be available from local health care providers in the areas nearby the clinics. Burrows said the Marathon County clinic will serve “as an adjunct to a good, strong health care system,” allowing vaccinators to reach even more people per day.

The clinics will be run by AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, a Virginia-based company. Their locations were selected to help ensure equitable vaccine access across the state. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) looked at factors like geographical diversity, population size and existing vaccine coverage when selecting the sites, said to Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. She noted her agency is working with officials in Milwaukee County to possibly open a FEMA vaccination site in the area.

“We are continuing to work to get vaccine doses across our state as soon as we have doses available,” Evers said in a statement. “These community-based sites are going to be critical to our work making sure that Wisconsinites can get vaccinated, so we can put this pandemic behind us.”

Officials say the new clinics will play an important role when Wisconsin expands vaccine eligibility to include teachers and child care workers on March 1.

Demand for vaccine continues to outpace supply in Wisconsin, though the state is getting more doses. More than 35,000 doses were spread across 178 Wisconsin Walgreen’s stores this week, according to DHS. That’s twice the number of doses the pharmacies received last week.

And this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet to discuss the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson. Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, coronavirus advisor to the White House, said vaccine supply will surpass the speed at which vaccines are administered in the coming months.

The new clinics will open with 200 doses per day, said to Willems Van Dijk. But Burrows said that number is expected to grow. It takes time to set up a clinic, she said. That’s why it’s important to get them ready now.

“We’re told we’ll be able to give up to a thousand doses per day, and that would go a long way to vaccinating north central Wisconsin,” she said.

DHS Reports 33 COVID-19 Deaths

Officials reported 566 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 604 daily cases. After two days in a row with zero deaths, DHS reported 33 new deaths Tuesday.

The latest figures bring the overall number of positive cases in Wisconsin to 560,564. A total of 6,317 Wisconsinites have died from COVID-19.

According to DHS, more than 1 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Wisconsin as of Tuesday, with 47.3 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up receiving at least one dose of the vaccine so far. DHS reported 815,516 Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose, representing 14 percent of the state population.

As of Tuesday, 366,096 people in Wisconsin have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.