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Bucks Stay Alive In Playoffs, As Milwaukee Health Officials Vaccinate More Fans

Milwaukee Health Department workers
Chuck Quirmbach
Milwaukee Health Department workers, including Commissioner Kirsten Johnson (center right), greet fans who come by for a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Milwaukee Bucks kept their NBA playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets alive Thursday night with a 15 point win. And, the Milwaukee Health Department began or completed vaccinating about 25 more people against COVID-19.

The two developments were related, as the department and the basketball franchise teamed up for a drawing to give two tickets to last night's game to one of the people who was immunized outside the Fiserv Forum.

David Garcia said it's been on his mind to get a shot, and the opportunity was there on the plaza to go for it. "You know, I do want to visit my sister in Germany. So, the vaccine, you kinda need that right now. So, I guess that was big in my brain," he told WUWM.

Cameron Giles said the basketball tickets were a strong motivation, but so was a happy personal life. "My girlfriend and her mom, they kinda forced me to get it, kinda," he said, laughing. "But, it's a good thing because I travel a lot. So, it's a good thing."

Giles' girlfriend, UW-Milwaukee student Terrika Henning, said her parents have been after her to get vaccinated. "Because, I had COVID before, and I don't want to catch it again. I just want to travel and do things, and stay safe," she said.

Chuck Quirmbach
Fans who agree to be vaccinated check in with Health Department workers.

The three people WUWM interviewed were under 30 years of age. The health department said most of the others who got a shot outside the Bucks game were also on the younger side.

Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said that's the demographic she really wanted to reach because they're lagging in vaccinations.

"They're lower numbers. We also know that it's a pocket of the population at risk of being infected, but also a risk of spreading it because they're going out to the basketball game, they're going out to bars and restaurants," she said.

Chuck Quirmbach
Bucks player Jrue Holiday (lower left) dribbles the ball during second quarter action Thursday night.

Inside the basketball arena, most people in their seats and walking around were not wearing masks. Johnson said more have facial coverings than she expected but,"I would say I have a level of discomfort when you see this many people in one space with unknown vaccination status."

The 16,000 fans watching the game aren't shy about opening their mouths to boo referees and opposition players. Or, to cheer the Bucks to a 104-89 victory that evened the series with the Nets at three games apiece. The deciding game is Saturday night in Brooklyn.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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