MILWAUKEE — State data shows vaccine demand continues to decline in Wisconsin. The average amount of daily doses administered is now the lowest it’s been in four months.
With the Wisconsin Center mass vaccination site closing Friday, Milwaukee leaders said they’re completely shifting their approach to try to convince those who are on the fence about getting vaccinated by bringing clinics to their neighborhoods. But vaccination numbers from current community clinics at several Milwaukee Public School buildings show that approach could still be a tough sell.
“I’m still a bit skeptical about it, so I’m really not sure if I want to do it,” said Meinyatta Willis-Smith of Milwaukee.
Meinyatta said she’s thought long and hard about getting vaccinated, but she remains hesitant after hearing about the side effects.
“As far as like, vomiting or body aches and stuff like that, I’m a bit terrified of that and I don’t think I want to deal with all of that,” she said.
Five Milwaukee public schools have opened their doors as community vaccine clinics, but nearly two weeks in, the health department said just 309 people have shown up as of Wednesday. North Division High School is averaging only about 5 doses administered each day since May 17. Mayor Tom Barrett said he isn’t discouraged by the low turnout.
“We are not measuring the victories by a thousand per day, it’s dozens or tens where we’re saying, ‘OK, we’ve made this progress,’” Mayor Barrett said.
Wisconsin is now averaging fewer than 19,000 doses administered each day. That’s the lowest it’s been since January.
Mayor Barrett acknowledges people who were eager to get vaccinated have likely already done so and now, the challenge is convincing those who remain hesitant. He said the Milwaukee Health Department is preparing to bring pop-up vaccination events to just about every neighborhood in the city, so no barriers stand in the way of getting people on board.
Kentrail Willis said he was nervous to get vaccinated, but after building up the courage, he said there was nothing to be afraid of.
“At first, I was scared because of all of the other people who had side effects to it, but then when I got mine and I found out that nothing happened I was like, ‘OK, more people should get this,’” he said.
Health leaders are calling on all of those who are vaccinated to share their experience and reasons for getting the shot with their friends, family and coworkers to spread the message.
“Honestly, someone who took it before would have to go with me and try to convince me to get it. And I might get it,” Meinyatta said.
Kentrail said he plans to do just that with Meinyatta.
“We’re going to go get that shot,” he said.
Thirty-eight percent of Milwaukee County residents have received their series of shots. That’s just a few percentage points behind the state as a whole.