County Targeting Vulnerable ZIP Codes for Vaccine
County is working to get seniors 65 and older from 53204 and 53206 vaccinated.
Milwaukee County has launched a new vaccine program directly targeting seniors living in specific ZIP codes.
The program is starting with 53204 and 53206. These ZIP codes are, respectively, predominantly Hispanic and Black. The residents of these ZIP codes have also experienced some of the highest rates of COVID-19 and severe outcomes like hospitalization and death.
Since vaccination began in January, there have been racial disparities in who is receiving the vaccine. Statewide data shows that 16% of white residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. Meanwhile, only 5.4% of Black residents have received a vaccine and only 4.8% of Hispanic residents have received the vaccine.
“Structural racism is still producing unequal outcomes for our residents in regards to vaccinations and the effect of the pandemic at large,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley during a media briefing Thursday.
The county has committed to eliminating racial health disparities, and Crowley said this new plan is another step in that direction.
The county has been administering vaccine to eligible county employees and residents that use county services out of the Kosciuszko Community Center at 2201 S. 7th St.
The county’s Office of Emergency Management identified these ZIP codes using a Social Vulnerability Index developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This index looks at variables across a ZIP code like income level, job status, transportation and housing among many others to determine the social vulnerability of community members. These ZIP codes have nearly 6,000 residents that are eligible for the vaccine, said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for Milwaukee County.
The county plans to expand beyond these first two ZIP codes as more vaccine becomes available, Weston said.
The goal of the program, essentially, is to identify the ZIP codes whose residents likely had the highest barriers to accessing the vaccine, and create easier access for them.
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