Gov. Tony Evers announced that Wisconsin is launching a mobile coronavirus vaccination program next week to be operated by the Wisconsin National Guard and health officials.
Evers says Vice President Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar promised him and other governors earlier this week that they would be releasing the federal stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines which included second doses that were being held back.
“I was told by the Vice President a couple of days ago and Secretary of Health that they were opening the gates that, ‘We are going to send you the remainder of the what was stockpiled.’ I guess they may have been telling the truth because that’s zero,” said Evers. “It was a slap in the face to the people of Wisconsin.”
This comes as Wisconsin gets ready to launch its mobile vaccine teams. They are groups of people made up of state workers, the Wisconsin National Guard and UW Health to bring vaccines into the communities.
“Right now, mobile clinics are not open to the general public. They are focused on targeted groups,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Those are the people in the Phase 1B group. Those include police, fire, EMS along with health care workers who are not affiliated with a hospital. But the plan is to test out this system so eventually they can run a vaccine clinic the same way they do COVID testing at Miller Park.
“In the future, the comparison to testing sites is exactly what we anticipate,” said Willems Van Dijk. “Ultimately it will be available to the whole public and they will be able to access any of the mobile clinics.”
However, the state is now not sure when that will be. The mobile clinics launch next week on Jan. 19. The state says it will continue to give out the vaccines it does have available.
Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin System is offering a $500 tuition credit for students who volunteer to do vaccinations.
“UW nursing and pharmacy students can provide critical help Wisconsinites get vaccinated,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “We are pleased to offer this tuition credit and appreciate the partnership with Gov. Tony Evers as we once again demonstrate the Wisconsin Idea at work – where there’s a problem facing Wisconsin, UW System is part of the solution.”
As of Friday, 213,056 people had been vaccinated in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said.
To date, nearly 516,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,290 have died.