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UWM Clinic Administers COVID-19 Vaccine To Those Newly Eligible

UW-Milwaukee has opened a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic which saw 445 doses administered on Monday, March 22.
Zoran Zeremski
UW-Milwaukee has opened a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic which saw 445 doses administered on Monday, March 22.

Martín Megaña is the first person in his family to get a COVID-19 vaccine. He’s doing it because he wants to show his community that it’s safe, free and necessary in order to end the pandemic.

“I know a lot of people that are scared about to get the vaccination. ... We'll try to make an example to like people that, you know, that's it's okay, there's not anything to be scared,” said Megaña.

Megaña is the executive chef of Tess, and the newer Frida, located inside Crossroads Collective on Farwell Avenue. He said that many of his friends that he works with have a real fear of the vaccine, believing conspiracy theories like the vaccine will alter their DNA or insert some sort of microchip in you.

“There's a conspiracy like ... they have a control of you or like, even like the chip or like something like that,” he explained.

It’s because Megaña works in the restaurant industry that he’s eligible to get the vaccine. But there are other groups of residents who are now eligible to get the vaccine, including those with pre-existing conditions and residents of particular zip codes.

Katherine Tan is one of those residents who actually falls into both groups.

“I had many pre-existing conditions as we were qualifying for this. So if I could check one box, I could check five," said Tan. "So it was so lovely to be able to see they're reaching out, and our zip code actually qualified to where we live. So we had 53223. So anybody out there in that area, please know it's time to come in, and do it. Do it, do it, do it. It's not any problem."

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in partnership with Advocate Aurora Health and the city of Milwaukee Health Department, has now opened a vaccine clinic. It is one of four on UW System campuses administering COVID-19 vaccines. The others are UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse.

In a press release, UWM Provost Johannes Britz said UW-Milwaukee is a perfect place to serve as a vaccination site: “As the most diverse campus in the University of Wisconsin System, we have a long history of providing access to educational- and health-related programs to the people of Milwaukee. Today, many of our graduates are working on the frontline, battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Advocate Aurora hospitals and clinics, as well as other health care facilities.”

The UWM clinic said it expected to administer 445 vaccinations on Monday. However, as state and local governments partner with public institutions and private health providers to scale up vaccine administration, one problem still remains — supply. There’s a lot of demand for the vaccine but certainly not enough to go around said Gov. Evers at press conference at the UWM clinic on Monday.

“This facility right now could do, I think 1,000 a day — a lot more than they do. And every facility in the state of Wisconsin that is operating could do more. In addition, the number of vaccinators that we have far exceed the number of vaccinators that are actually putting shots in arms. So yes, we have a shortage. It is growing almost exponentially across the state and across the nation,” he said.

But Evers said he thinks the supply will eventually keep up with the demand.

The UWM clinic is located in the Student Union on Kenwood Boulevard.

Anyone who meets Wisconsin’s vaccination criteria can make an appointment at the UWM clinic by visiting uwm.edu/vaccination. Currently eligible groups include those age 65 and older, restaurant and grocery workers, people with certain medical conditions, K-12 educators and more. In addition, all adults living in the 10 Milwaukee County zip codes ranked highest on the CDC’s social vulnerability index can get vaccinated at the clinic. Those zip codes are: 53204, 53206, 53205, 53209, 53215, 53216, 53218, 53223, 53224 and 53233.

People who complete the vaccination interest form online will receive an email with a personalized code that allows them to make an appointment through Advocate Aurora Health. Once they receive their first shot, they will be automatically scheduled for their second. Vaccination is by appointment only; there are no walk-ins.

Angelina Mosher Salazar joined WUWM in 2018 as the Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She was then a reporter with the station until 2021.
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