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Mobile Vaccinations In Milwaukee Begin For Educators

Chuck Quirmbach
The city of Milwaukee's mobile vaccination unit offered COVID-19 vaccine shots at Saint Benedict the Moor Catholic Church on March 5.

The city of Milwaukee's mobile vaccination effort for COVID-19 focuses on school employees this week at a half-dozen sites. 

The city launched the mobile effort last week at two churches that serve large numbers of low-income people — including Saint Benedict the Moor Catholic Church in downtown Milwaukee.

St. Ben's employee Jefford Peace said it was a good place for the city health department to reach out to those who may not have easy access to doctors and clinics.

"The majority of people that we serve here are at-risk people. They're not as fortunate. Some of them are homeless. So, it's important we deal with public that are prone to [COVID-19]," he said. 

Peace said as an essential employee who interacts with the public, he was able to receive his first dose of the vaccine. He said he wanted to do his part to combat the deadly coronavirus. 

"I've never experienced anything like this in my lifetime as far like. It's all part of me, everybody, doing what they can to turn this thing around,” said Peace.

Local musician Sam McClain also got his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at Saint Ben's.

"Better be safe than sorry, more than anything. You know what I'm saying?  Anything that helps,” he said.

Credit Chuck Quirmbach
Milwaukee resident Sam McClain stands in the parking lot at St. Ben's, after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

McClain said he does not have a health care provider. He said he's gotten over his initial hesitancy about being vaccinated.

"I used to be like that one time ago. But at the same time, this problem's not going to go away no time soon. So, you know, if it helps to get vaccinated, you get vaccinated. It's like no more than 20 minutes of your time. Know what I'm saying?” said McClain.

McClain said he'll now tell his friends to get the COVID-19 vaccine.   

Milwaukee and other communities are still likely to have more demand than supply for a while. But Dr. Nick Tomaro of the Milwaukee Health Department said the city, state and federal governments continue to have transparent discussions about getting more vaccine here.

"The news we have is that, we really think that the manufacturing process and distribution process is really going to escalate at a really good pace, to the point where we're excited about how many people we'll be able to vaccinate in a short amount of time,” he said.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported over the weekend that Milwaukee County is behind most of the state when it comes to the percentage of residents who have received a first dose of the vaccine.

Tomaro said after this week's focus on educators, the Milwaukee mobile units will return to churches next week. 

Milwaukee County has also started a targeted effort to reach senior citizens in two Milwaukee zip codes that score high on the federal government's Social Vulnerability Index.

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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