Graham Kilmer

Vaccination Numbers Going Down

Fewer people in Milwaukee and Wisconsin are seeking the vaccine.

By - Apr 15th, 2021 07:30 pm
COVID-19 Vaccination Hub at the Wisconsin Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

COVID-19 Vaccination Hub at the Wisconsin Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

After experiencing one of the best COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the country, Wisconsin is beginning to see its supply of vaccine outstrip demand.

Early on, lack of supply was the biggest obstacle governments and health care systems had in getting the vaccine to the public. Now, with high levels of vaccine availability, public demand is becoming the more significant challenge.

As of Wednesday, the average number of vaccines administered each day has dropped by more than 10,000 in just five days, according to data from the state Department of Health Services. In Milwaukee, a drop off in vaccines being administered began in early April, according to data from the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

A week ago, the county was doing 9,000 a day, now it’s doing 8,000 a day, said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for Milwaukee County.

Mayor Tom Barrett noted that the Wisconsin Center, which is accepting walk-ins for vaccination, has the capacity to vaccinate 4,000 people a day, but is currently vaccinating 2,000 a day.

“You can get the shot here in Milwaukee,” Barrett said. “You can absolutely get the shot here.”

Well over a third of the state’s population has received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than one quarter have completed the vaccination process. In Milwaukee County, nearly 200,000 residents have been fully vaccinated, and approximately 136,000 have received one dose.

Weston noted during a media briefing Thursday that vaccine hesitancy remains a hurdle for many people in getting the vaccine. 

He noted that there are those like himself that, “jumped at the chance to get the vaccine,” while others are in a “small, but impactful, group that absolutely will not get the vaccine no matter what.” Then there are those in the middle, that are simply unsure about the vaccine.

Weston said the vaccines have been proven safe by the 200 million doses administered across the U.S., and that for anyone willing to get it “now is the time to do so.”

Noting the pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he said “the system worked exactly as it should.” Because the moratorium went into effect pending further review as soon as potential adverse side effects were noticed. He noted that the odds of the rare blood clot are “literally one in a million.”

In order to combat vaccine hesitancy, local governments and healthcare systems are developing public relations campaigns aimed at encouraging more people to seek the vaccine. A campaign called “Authentic Voices” recently launched in Milwaukee County.

Mayor Barrett encouraged anyone getting a vaccine to consider bringing a friend or family member with them, and to spread the word about vaccine access to anyone they know.

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