Jeramey Jannene

Dimitrijevic Offers Plan to Fight COVID-19

Mayoral candidate wants free at-home tests and $100 incentive to get vaccine and booster.

By - Dec 22nd, 2021 09:58 am
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. photo by Lisa Ferdinando. U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. photo by Lisa Ferdinando. U.S. Secretary of Defense, (CC BY 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Alderwoman and mayoral candidate Marina Dimitrijevic has a plan she believes would slow the spread of COVID-19.

She’s calling on the Milwaukee Health Department to offer free at-home COVID-19 tests available for pickup at each of the city’s 13 libraries. The alderwoman, the chair of the Public Safety & Health Committee, will also introduce legislation to offer a $100 incentive to receive a primary or booster shot of the vaccine.

“Slowing this latest wave of COVID-19 is not just a moral imperative, it’s a racial justice issue, as COVID-19 has continued to disproportionately impact Milwaukee’s Black and Brown communities. For the vaccinated and boosted, this rise in cases will require vigilance but with proper testing and masks should not require a full disruption of daily life,” said Dimitrijevic in a statement announcing the plan. “For the unvaccinated, COVID-19 remains a mortal threat. We must do all we can to get all Milwaukee residents vaccinated and boosted.”

The two initiatives would dramatically expand the city’s direct COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The city currently staffs three testing and vaccine clinics out of the Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., the Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St. and the former emissions testing center at 2401 W. St. Paul Ave.

Making at-home tests available for residents, and distributing them via the city’s libraries, would expand the availability of testing both in quantity and accessibility.

The idea isn’t without precedent, Baltimore rolled out a similar giveaway earlier this week. President Joe Biden also announced an initiative Tuesday to provide up to 500 million at-home tests for free by mail via an online portal. That offering is expected to happen in January.

The vaccination incentive would restore an earlier incentive, while also quadrupling the size of the cash offer and expanding the eligible list of participants. MHD last ran a $25 incentive in October for eligible Milwaukee residents to get the second shot in the primary dose series. It was operated with $1,000 in U.S. Bank same-as-cash gift cards. Dimitrijevic’s plan would offer $100 to anyone getting their first, second or booster dose. The city, in September, had a $100 incentive program after a similar state program expired. Milwaukee Public Schools and other entities have also offered incentives.

“The rapid spread of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County, driven largely by the new omicron variant, is deeply concerning. But thankfully, we now have the tools we need to combat this virus and keep schools and businesses open,” said Dimitrijevic.

How would the city pay for the effort? That remains to be seen. Dimitrijevic’s legislation, to be reviewed by the council in January, calls on MHD to identify funding sources.

The alderwoman has been the council’s most vocal champion of COVID-19 mitigation measures. She led the adoption of a mask mandate in 2020, unsuccessfully sought to get it reinstated in 2021 and has steadfastly advocated vaccination.

“None of us wanted to be thinking about COVID-19 for yet another holiday season, but if we take bold action now we can prevent the worst outcomes and keep schools and businesses open and thriving,” said the alderwoman.

According to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data, only 52.6% of all Milwaukee residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 48.3% have received a full dose course. Statewide, 61.5% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose.

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here

Categories: Health, Weekly

2 thoughts on “Dimitrijevic Offers Plan to Fight COVID-19”

  1. Mark Nicolini says:

    “Dmitrijevic’s legislation … calls on MHD to identify funding sources.”

    Sort of like stepping up to the bar and offering everyone a drink, but asking the bartender to determine how to pay for it.

    Probably an unfortunate analogy–but the point being, anyone can offer an unfunded mandate. No plan is complete without showing how it will be funded. Anyone who becomes Mayor won’t be able to pass the buck on funding decisions.

  2. Jaimcb says:

    Hey, Mark. I think you’re right about the unfunded mandates–god knows they’ve been around forever–but Dmitrijevic’s proposal is smart. I think we need to provide whatever incentives we can make available. I think it takes political will to appropriate funds for good proposals and we’ll have to see if it exists.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us