MILWAUKEE — A new partnership in Milwaukee has a goal to efficiently and safely getting COVID-19 vaccines to educators and childcare workers as soon as possible.
The Milwaukee Health Department has teamed up with the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Wisconsin to administer vaccines to this group at multiple locations.
MCW and Children's Wisconsin will take the lead on these shots at the Wisconsin Center then later add North and South Division High Schools, Mitchell Library, and Villard Library.
"We believe these community sites that is just what our community needs to meet people where they are with the vaccine," said Kristin Busse with the Medical College of Wisconsin.
The health department reported it has more than 17,000 doses available for educators and child care workers.
The effort is focused on educators and child care providers who live or work in Milwaukee.
"The next step of getting vaccinated is so vital in having faith and hope and instilling that confidence and our families and our staff," said Chris Przedpelski, senior director of extended learning at the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.
Przedpelski recently was able to get his first vaccine through Walgreens. He said after nearly a year that included some stressful and scary moments opening up vaccine eligibility to child care workers is meaningful.
"My staff, I can't say enough about them being selfless and seeing a bigger picture, and helping to take care of people's children so they could go and provide for their families," said Przedpelski.
Skip Robinson, vice president of club and operations at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, also received his first vaccine.
"There's a lot of people working from home, but our staff isn't able to work from home because our kids show up day in and day out. So it's important that we give them as many safeguards as we can," said Robinson.
As more vaccine efforts grow, looking back at what the last year has taken puts those efforts into perspective.
Since the pandemic started in Milwaukee County alone the medical examiner reported 1,057 people have died from COVID-19. The county's dashboard showed 5,865 have been hospitalized.
The statistics represent immeasurable grief and underscore the need to get vaccines out.
"Let's remember that although this is encouraging and we're all excited about the vaccine 500,000+ Americans have lost their lives in the COVID pandemic. And the impact of the pandemic especially the inequity of the pandemic and its disproportionate impact on communities of black and Latino are something we need to be cognizant of," said Dr. Mike Gutzeit, Chief Medical Officer at Children's Wisconsin.
Educators and child care workers who live or work in Milwaukee can register for a vaccine appointment on the Milwaukee Health Department's website.