Wisconsin Creating Mobile Vaccination Teams
Effort to be initially targeted at first responders.
Governor Tony Evers announced Friday a mobile COVID-19 vaccination program that will begin next week to hasten the state’s rollout.
“It has always been our goal to get folks vaccinated as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. These mobile vaccination teams are going to help us do just that by continuing to expand vaccine distribution across our state, leveraging partnerships and our best resources to meet folks where they are in their own communities,” Evers said.
The state is planning to move into the next phase of vaccinations next week, making first responders and frontline essential-workers eligible to receive the vaccine. The group of people eligible for the vaccine during the next phase is expected to be approximately double the size of the first phase.
Vaccinations for police officers and firefighters already began this week, with local and tribal health departments administering the vaccines. Nine mobile vaccine teams will be available to respond to localities as they “identify gaps in vaccine access” or exceed their capacity to vaccinate.
The program is a collaboration between the state Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin National Guard and the UW-System. The mobile vaccine teams will be made up of personnel from the Wisconsin National Guard and students involved in pharmacy or nursing programs. The student volunteers will receive a $500 tuition credit.
Andrea Palm, DHS secretary designee, said that health inequities revealed by the pandemic were in part the inspiration for the mobile vaccination teams. “The Mobile Vaccination initiative will help close gaps in accessibility and ensure that every Wisconsinite will have the opportunity to get protected against COVID-19,” she said.
For weeks now, Evers and DHS have maintained the state’s vaccination efforts are being slowed by supply of vaccine from the federal government. Julie Willems Van Dijk, DHS deputy secretary, said during a media briefing this week that the biggest challenge is the amount of vaccine the state has been allocated.
DHS is “building the system” for the next phase, she said, but “we need more vaccine to get vaccine into arms.”
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