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'We have a ways to go': Wisconsin officials continue to push for 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 22, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin health officials are encouraging counties and cities across the state to keep going and reach that goal of getting COVID-19 shots in arms of at least 70% percent of residents. That's despite President Biden's announcement that his administration would fall short of reaching its 4th of July goal.

"We knew there would come a time that we would quickly vaccinate those who were eager to get the vaccine and then it would be a slower process," said Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services.

Shronda Green, a member of the National Black Nurses Association in Racine, says that 47% of the county's population has had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But she says as things begin to open up to full capacity, it's critical to get more people vaccinated against the deadly virus in order to keep it from spreading.

"It'll be unfortunate that we might lose more of our people, the businesses may have to close or go remote," said Green.

Health officials with the City of Milwaukee say they're happy with the progress they've made so far when it comes to vaccination rates, but there's still more work to be done to break down barriers that may stand in people's way of getting the vaccine.

"I am pleased to see our continued vaccination around 1,000 per day, certainly. I would like to see them higher, certainly, I'd like to see our percentages overall of people getting vaccinated much higher," said Dr. Ben Weston, Medical Director for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Mangement and an associate professor for the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"We are trying to go more into the communities and spreading the word by having mobile units instead of just having a stationary unit," said Green.

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In Wisconsin, nearly 50% of the state's population has received its first dose of the COVID-19. In Milwaukee, only 38% of the city's residents have gotten their first dose.

"I think we have a ways to go, but I think the programs we are doing are helping us make progress," said Dr. Weston.

Health officials add that they are still battling the challenge of vaccine hesitancy, but they hope the more they give out factual information about the COVID-19 vaccine to people, the less hesitancy there will be.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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