How Milwaukee is transforming the Wisconsin Center into a giant vaccination clinic

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 23:22:30-05

MILWAUKEE — Preparations have begun to turn the Wisconsin Center into a COVID-19 vaccination site, Milwaukee city officials said by Tuesday.

Mayor Tom Barrett said they are using the space because the city will see dramatic increases in the number of vaccines it receives.

The City of Milwaukee reported 120 employees have been vaccinated since receiving 100 doses earlier this week. The 120 included employees in the city's 1A group with the Milwaukee Health Department and EMS workers with Milwaukee Fire.

800 doses of Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in staggered shipments next week.

Mayor Tom Barrett addressed security concerns after a pharmacist was recently accused of deliberately trying to damage vaccines in Grafton.

Milwaukee's vaccines will be kept at a secure location with limited access.

"There will be surveillance cameras monitoring the room to make sure that there is no tampering. The Health Department has been working with our law enforcement partners just to see if there’s any internet traffic or any noise that we need to be concerned about," said Barrett.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ben Weston, an emergency department physician at Froedtert Hospital and Director of Medical Services at the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, joined health care workers in completing the two-dose vaccine series. Dr. Weston reported no side effects after both doses.

He said while some want to wait it out after 9 months he was ready.

"I’ve seen an incredibly effective safe vaccine developed. I’ll say at the same time I’ve seen many many people suffering," said Dr. Weston, "When I consider those experiences the choice for me was easy."

Wisconsin has activated the vaccination process for assisted living sites. As part of a federal partnership, Walgreens and CVS should start those clinics by January 25.

"It’s unbelievably a great need. We serve individuals that are frail elderly individuals with complex health needs also with individuals with disabilities. I think just getting the vaccine is kind of a huge relief," said Mike Pochowski, President of the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

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More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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