Fixing vaccine shortage is priority, Milwaukee officials say at COVID-19 Town Hall

Posted at 6:11 AM, Feb 10, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Health officials held a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday evening on the city’s efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

Interim Milwaukee Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson says the biggest issue right now is getting enough vaccine to distribute.

“Right now there is a shortage of supply, meaning the amount of vaccine doses we are getting into the state and city is not as much as our demand is,” said Jackson.

The event was moderated by TMJ4 News reporter Tony Atkins. He facilitated asking some of the 200 questions that came in over the virtual chat. Some had to do with barriers many face, including transportation to vaccine sites.

“We know that there are barriers out there and we are doing everything in our power in the health department to address those,” said Jackson.

In addition to the Health Commissioner, Mayor Tom Barrett and doctors on the city’s Health Commission were on the virtual town hall. The event was recorded and can be watched on the city’s website here.

“This virtual event is the ideal setting for residents to hear directly from local health professionals who will separate vaccine fact from fiction, and share the most up-to-date info on vaccine safety, the distribution processes and overall timeline,” said Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.

“Residents understandably have questions about the vaccine’s safety, when they can expect to receive it, and much more,” said Committee Chair Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “There are no bad questions, and I encourage those with questions to submit them ahead of time and then tune in to the event to hear the answer.”

TMJ4 News spoke with several people across town Wednesday. Migdalia Burdette said she wants to know when life will resume some semblance of normalcy.

"I want to know when we can walk around comfortably," she said.

CaBeaetrice Hart said she wants to know more about COVID-safety and clean surfaces for her shop inside Sherman Phoenix.

"Are there natural alternatives that would help with cleaning surfaces," Hart asked.

TMJ4 News also spoke with Heather Paradis, Director of Health for the City of Milwaukee, ahead of the event. She said non-pharmacudical interventions such as social distancing has helped.

“Wearing a mask all the time. Proper hand hygiene. Keeping physical distance and we’ve now evolved to where we have a proper vaccine that can help in this fight," she said. “Pandemic fatigue is real. We all want to get back to a normal life and in particular, having a good uptake of vaccine across our community is one way we’re going to be able to return to normalcy.”

During Wednesday's Town Hall, guests are able to choose alternative languages, Hmong and Spanish.

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