Wisconsin has opened more COVID-19 mass vaccination sites with the latest addition coming to Lambeau Field.
Bellin Health, the Green Bay Packers and Brown County Public Health have partnered on the vaccination clinic, which opens Wednesday.
“Lambeau, simply put, is a perfect place for this. It’s ideal. It’s very visible. It’s very well known, and it’s accessible, and the crew there is second to none in terms of its ability to get large groups of people in and out with ease,” said Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske.
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For now, vaccinations will take place in the atrium, but the clinic could expand to include other areas of the stadium, according to Woleske. The clinic has the capacity to deliver up to 6,000 shots per week, but that number could also grow depending on supply, she said. The site will likely use all three vaccine types: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
In fact, the organizations delayed opening the clinic until after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine became available due to supply challenges, Woleske said.
“Our supply has actually increased, and we are working with the (Wisconsin Department of Health Services) on making sure that they know what our capacity is at Lambeau and how quickly we can ramp that up,” she said.
Lambeau joins more than a dozen NFL facilities serving as vaccination sites across the country, according to Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. The vaccine clinic was announced last week, exactly one year from the date Lambeau Field closed public operations due to the pandemic, he said.
“We couldn’t be more proud, a full year later now, to be moving forward with providing Lambeau Field as a site in helping to ensure equitable access to the vaccine,” Murphy said.
Vaccines will play an important role in bringing fans back to Lambeau Field at full capacity, he said. Murphy is 65, and he got the Pfizer shots as soon as he became eligible.
“I know fans often question decisions that I make, but I don’t think anybody can question this decision to get the vaccine,” he said.
The clinic is open to anyone from Wisconsin who qualifies under the state’s current vaccine guidelines, but appointments are required. Any eligible Wisconsinite can call 920-445-7313 to add their name to the waiting list.
More than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far in Wisconsin. Health officials have announced a large group of Wisconsinites will become eligible beginning later this month. It includes people with conditions like diabetes or cancer, as well as those who are overweight.
To date, vaccine supply has been the limiting factor when it comes to expanding eligibility to all Wisconsinites. But ultimately, health officials say it’ll come down to how quickly shots can be administered. That’s where mass vaccination sites can make a big difference.
Universities across the state are already hosting large vaccination clinics. On Tuesday, a site opened in the student union at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It’s a partnership between the school, Advocate Aurora Health and the city of Milwaukee Health Department, according to a news release from UW-Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has taken over operations of a mass vaccination clinic at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. The state has committed to providing at least 7,000 doses per week to the site, according to a news release from Gov. Tony Evers.
“This vaccination center is an important resource for expanding and expediting vaccine availability to communities that need it the most,” said Kevin Sligh, FEMA’s acting administrator in the region.
According to Evers, FEMA’s involvement will free up local vaccinators to focus on reaching the city’s most vulnerable populations.
Wisconsin opened its first mass vaccination clinic in Rock County in February. Since then health officials have announced additional community-based clinics in Barron, Douglas, Racine, La Crosse and Marathon counties.
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