From Farmers Markets To Coffee Shops, Vaccine Clinics Are Popping Up In Wisconsin

Milwaukee Brewers Will Hold Two Clinics Before Games At American Family Field This Week

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A fan gets a vaccine at at Milwaukee Bucks game
Xavier Langwell give Tina Lopez a COVID vaccine shot before an NBA basketball game at Fiserv Forum between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Photo

On Monday, Paradigm Coffee and Music in Sheboygan moved its furniture to clear space for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

The popular coffee shop is used to hosting events — concerts, readings, lectures — but that changed during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s one of the reasons owner Kate Krause enthusiastically volunteered her space as a vaccine site after it was suggested by the Sheboygan County LGBTQ Alliance, Krause said.

“It feels the closest to normal that we could possibly ask for,” she said. “The one thing we’ve always been able to offer is a space to gather.”

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With the help of mass clinics that opened across the state earlier this year, almost half of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But that still leaves a lot of people who aren’t protected. Now, health officials are seeking new ways to make the vaccine more accessible.

Paradigm welcomes customers from all walks of life, and some people who might not be comfortable visiting a doctor’s office or pharmacy might feel better about going somewhere familiar, like their local coffee shop, Krause said. Working with the Sheboygan County health department to set up the clinic was easy, she said.

“If the CDC is saying you can take down your masks if you’re fully vaccinated, we just wanted to make sure that we did our best to help make that accessible for everyone,” she said.

Meanwhile, churches have hosted many clinics in Milwaukee, and public health workers were at the farmers market Saturday in Fond du Lac, where they vaccinated about 45 people.

“The cool thing about the farmers market was the individuals we vaccinated were likely, they said, to not get it anywhere else,” Fond du Lac Health Officer Kim Mueller said.

The health department is likely to return to future farmers markets and other local events, including Walleye Weekend, Juneteenth and the Fond du Lac County Fair, she said.

The pace is slowing down for vaccinations across the state now that the most eager Wisconsinites have gotten their shots. Mueller thinks public health officials have reached the toughest section of the vaccination campaign.

“I think it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take meeting people where they’re at and meeting people where they’re comfortable, having conversations with people to help them better understand the importance of the vaccination, as well as how effective it is,” she said.

Most counties are looking for ways to increase vaccination rates in their communities, so people should keep an eye out for opportunities in their own towns, Mueller said.

“We’re all trying to do things that are a little bit outside the box to help increase the availability of vaccine,” she said.

Some popup clinics are even offering incentives. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Milwaukee Brewers will host vaccination events at American Family Field before games against the San Diego Padres. Fans who get a shot will get two free tickets to the game, according to the team. The clinics will be held in the atrium at Helfaer Field, and no appointments are required. Fans can choose between the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

“As we head toward games with full capacity at American Family Field, life is appearing more normal every day,” team executive Rick Schlesinger said in a statement. “However, there is still work to be completed in the battle against the virus.”

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