Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Rolls Out Vaccination Promotion For Second Shot

City will pay $25 to 1,000 people to get second shot. More than 23,000 people are currently eligible.

By - Oct 21st, 2021 01:14 pm
Dr. Ben Weston receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Ben Weston receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

After effectively paying people to get their first COVID-19 vaccination shot, the Milwaukee Health Department is now offering an incentive program for people to get the second shot and complete the vaccination series.

Starting Oct. 21, the first 1,000 people to get their second dose at any of the three city-run vaccination sites will receive a $25 U.S. Bank same-as-cash gift card.

“It is crucially important for everyone to complete their COVID vaccination series to be protected from the virus,” said Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson. “With this incentive program, we hope to encourage those who only got their first shot to prioritize getting their second.”

Vaccination is free and anyone age 12 or older is eligible.

The promotion builds on an August first-shot promotion from the state and a similar September promotion from the city. Both of those promotions offered a $100 gift card.

Individuals must receive the shot at the Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., the Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St. or the new mass testing site at 2401 W. St. Paul Ave. They also must be Milwaukee residents.

The northwest and southside centers offer free vaccinations Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Menomonee Valley mass testing site offers vaccinations Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

When MHD launched its first-shot incentive in September, 47.4% of all Milwaukeeans had received their first shot according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data. As of Wednesday, that figure has climbed to 49.3%. But that drops to 45.4% when counting only individuals that have completed a full course of shots (two for Pfizer or Moderna, one for Johnson & Johnson).

The state data suggests 23,426 people are eligible for the new $25 promotion.

No appointment is necessary, but individuals can save time by registering in advance. Those with questions can call 414-286-6800 or visit

Milwaukee Versus Wisconsin on Vaccinations

DHS reports that 54.8% of state residents have received at least one dose, compared to 49.3% in Milwaukee.

But those percentages rely on 2010 Census data. Adjusting for the 2020 figures, Milwaukee’s percentage climbs to 50.8% and the state figure falls to 54.1%.

The figures also reflect all residents, and Milwaukee has historically had a higher concentration of younger residents (who are either ineligible to get vaccinated or less likely to). The 2019 estimates available on the U.S. Census Bureau website have 17.5% of Wisconsin residents being 65 or older, while only 10.5% of Milwaukee residents are 65 or older.

Milwaukee’s vaccination efforts appear to mirror the larger statewide performance, when adjusted for more recent population data and age-based trends.

Now the question becomes will a wave of vaccination mandates and incentive programs boost Milwaukee above the state average?

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