The Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee has transitioned into a federal community vaccination clinic. Milwaukee health leaders say that frees up local resources to bring vaccinations to underserved neighborhoods.
The Milwaukee Health Department says local staff who are no longer needed inside the Wisconsin Center can now be reassigned to other community vaccination sites.
The Milwaukee Health Department is still managing operations at the Wisconsin Center, but everything else is being taken care of by a federal agency and the Wisconsin National Guard.
“I went in there with my wife, and they got us in and got us out,” said Matthew Zaccone.
The federal designation means more appointments are available at the Wisconsin Center for people like Matthew Zaccone, but since those doses are coming straight from the federal government rather than the state’s supply, other community vaccine clinics stand to gain thousands of more doses each day as well.
Charle Maxwell got his first dose Tuesday at North Division High School.
“It was pretty easy,” Maxwell said. “A person could do it on their lunch break.”
As of Tuesday, Both North and South Division high schools are open to every Milwaukee resident ages 16 and older. Mayor Tom Barrett says those are just two of several sites benefiting from the federal assistance at the Wisconsin Center.
“We want to make sure we are bringing the vaccinations to those neighborhoods where people live,” Mayor Barrett said.
“I would say it’s allowed us significantly more ability to pivot,” added Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson.
Johnson says more vaccinators are now able to administer doses at churches, libraries, community centers and pop-up sites on short notice.
“It just allows us a lot more agility, so if we get a call today from an organization that wants some vaccine on Thursday for example, we are able to do that,” she said.
Federal resources are assigned to the Wisconsin Center for the next eight weeks. It’s the city’s largest vaccination site.