Milwaukee health officials using drive-thru clinics to vaccinate residents

Drive-thru and home visits are two ways to get a vaccine.
Posted at 6:31 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 19:35:08-04

MILWAUKEE — Drive-up and drive-thru testing sites are not new. But local health officials are taking that approach and making it work for people to get vaccinated.

On Friday, IndependenceFirst hosted a free drive-thru clinic to get vaccinated.

Independence First CEO Marci Boucher learned about the idea of a drive-up/drive-thru vaccine clinic from her sister in California, and immediately contacted the Milwaukee Health Department.

"It just made sense because you don't have to get close to someone to get your vaccination. You don't have to go into an enclosed area," Boucher said.

All it took was a phone call to the health department to get the ball rolling.

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Milwaukee Health Department Emergency Response and Planning Coordinator Dr. Nick Tomaro said the state is starting to see a decrease in those going to mass vaccination sites and because of that, they're trying a new approach.

Tomaro said there will be a smaller task force of groups of two meeting Wisconsinites where they are, literally.

"We're really starting to get much smaller, where we want to send smaller teams out to vaccinate as many people where they are," Tomaro said.

That new approach goes beyond drive-up clinics, as home visits will also be another avenue for vaccinations.

"Now, we know there's another group of people that are willing to be vaccinated, but it needs to be highly accessible," Tomaro said.

COVID survivor Alesia Gray rolled up her sleeve today to receive her first shot after a tough battle.

"It was some days that I felt like I wasn't gonna make it. I wasn't sure," Gray said. "I chose this route because it was fast, and it was convenient and it was easy. I felt comfortable in my car."

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Gray was first diagnosed with COVID in October, and for four months, she battled the virus. She has since been going to physical therapy to gain back the muscle mass she lost.

On Friday, with a big smile, she said she got vaccinated to keep her family and others safe.

"I feel so emotional right now, I'm thankful to even be here, to be alive and to receive this vaccine," Gray said.

This weekend, vaccines will be given at Black Husky Brewing. Next week, to reach children now eligible for a vaccine, there will be five Milwaukee Public Schools that will provide a vaccine, as well as at local libraries.

This effort is another way to reach as many people as possible, with hopes of getting back to life as we knew it.

If you have any COVID related questions, you can call the Milwaukee Public Health Hotline at (414)286-6800.

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