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Health Officials Concerned About Drop In Milwaukee Vaccination Rates

COVID shot
Zoran Zeremski
Just over 20% of people are vaccinated in Milwaukee, but Mayor Tom Barrett stressed that number needs to be much higher before the city can return to normal.

Milwaukee county officials are concerned with the low rate of vaccinations in the city of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stressed the importance of people being vaccinated, saying it plays an important role in getting life back to normal. As of Thursday, he said the city’s vaccination rate is just over 20%, but needs to be much higher in order to get back to normal.

“We have seen an increase in our cases. It's my hope that we're at a plateau right now, but I want to stress over and over again that we have an adequate supply of vaccinations right now,” he said.

Barrett said walk-in vaccinations continue at the Wisconsin Center, and community sites at North and South Division High Schools for individuals 16 and older.

He added that the city will not be changing the health orders this week.

Dr. Ben Weston, director of Medical Services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, continued the conversation on vaccine rates, saying there’s been a definitive decline in shots from over 9,000 per day a week ago, to less than 8,000 currently. He said the county is averaging 137 new cases a day, and about 1 death per days.

In light of the news earlier this week that Johnson & Johnson paused vaccine use amid an investigation of blood clots in six women, Weston also addressed hesitancy by noting hundreds of millions of people have taken one of the three vaccines. He said they are safe and effective.

“In January when I received my vaccine, they were new. They had undergone scientific trials with tens of thousands of people, but they hadn't been given on a massive scale to millions of people. But that has now changed. Nearly 200,000,000 doses of vaccine have been given just in the United states alone — over 100,000,000 doses of Pfizer and 86,000,000 doses of Moderna,” he explained.

LISTEN: Hesitant About The Vaccine? New Milwaukee Ad Campaign Wants To Convince You Otherwise

City leaders hope the latest campaign from HealthyMKE called “Authentic Voices” will help increase vaccine confidence. It features people from Milwaukee communities sharing why they decided to get vaccinated. Residents can expect to see stories on TV, social media, billboards and hear them on the radio.

Teran is WUWM's race & ethnicity reporter.
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