MILWAUKEE COUNTY — The mayors of several cities in Milwaukee County are questioning the state’s process of distributing COVID-19 vaccinations.
At Monday’s meeting of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council, the lack of vaccines to get in the arms of constituents was weighing on the city leaders.
“This is ridiculous. Our health department's phones are ringing off the hook and they can’t tell people when we’re going to have vaccines. It’s the lack of information from the state that is just handcuffing everybody and making this whole thing a joke,” said Franklin’s mayor Steve Olson.
Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy said, “We really don’t know the process at the state as to why the requests are not for what we’ve asked for.”
Many of the cities operate in health department groups. For example, Glendale is part of the North Shore Health Department. Their Health Director, Ann Christiansen, said at one point the department representing seven cities asked for 5,280 doses and got 2,000.
The cities generally request an allotment for the week ahead and only for the amount they can administer. Wisconsin Department of Health Services said they ask the local vaccinators, in this case cities, for their request and then forward that on to the Federal Government, which ships out the vaccine to everyone. They did not say how they then determine how many each municipality will get.
The mayors say they are hoping to get answers later this week when their health leaders meet with state health officials. If they don’t get satisfactory answers, they plan to send a letter signed by all 19 mayors in the county demanding answers from the state.
In the meantime, cities along the south shore like Cudahy, South Milwaukee, St. Francis and Oak Creek have said they will open an abandoned Kmart as a vaccination site as early as March 1. If they can receive the doses, Cudahy’s mayor Tom Pavlic says they should be able to administer 1,000 doses a day at the site.