MILWAUKEE — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has opened its COVID-19 vaccine clinic to the public.
"It’s a partnership between Aurora, who has healthcare providers here vaccinating, and UWM. We have nursing students vaccinating. It’s a pretty impressive thing to see," said Kim Litwack, the dean of the College of Nursing at UWM.
During a two-hour time slot on its first day, the clinic had 187 appointments scheduled. They are full the rest of this week, with more than 400 shots scheduled each day.
"Way easier. I can just walk straight from teaching over here and then walk," said Alexander Vincent, a graduate student who teaches in-person.
"I’ve tried several different locations, but I couldn’t get in at many other places. I saw here they just opened up. We got a big mass email and I thought 'okay I’m going to go here,'" said Aleah Merriweather, a student and English tutor.
Anyone who fits into an eligible group can make an appointment.
Organizers said they want to offer more access to vaccines in Milwaukee and to those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Litwack said one of the advantages to a clinic at the union is that it is accessible to multiple bus lines with places to park.
"We know that some of the communities who are near us, particularly west and south, have been impacted at a greater disproportion than other communities," said Litwack.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that when compared to white Wisconsin residents, communities of color experience higher rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. DHS reported Hispanic or Latino residents have 1.7 times more case rates, while Black residents have 2 times greater hospitalization rates, and American Indian residents have a 1.5 times greater death rate.
Merriwether, who lives near UWM, believes the new clinic will make a difference.
"We got the vaccines, but we need to distribute as many as possible, as quickly as possible, to as many people as possible, and opening a larger site like this is going to be super helpful," said Merriwether.
To make an appointment you can visit this website or call (866) 443-2584. Appointments can also be made through Advocate Aurora's LiveWell app. The clinic is scheduled to be open 9 a.m - 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.