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Milwaukee COVID-19 program will go door-to-door to build vaccine confidence in underserved communities

Posted at 11:35 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 18:59:42-04

The City of Milwaukee and other partners have launched a new mobile door-to-door vaccine effort to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence in the county's most underserved communities.

The outreach program is through a partnership with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and the Vaccine Integrated Communications, Outreach and Mobilization team, as well as other community partners.

The mobilization effort will go door-to-door in underserved communities to "build vaccine confidence" and even offer vaccines on the spot for those who are interested.

As people known as community mobilizers go door-to-door to share facts about COVID-19, a nurse or a firefighter is close by to give the vaccine in case someone says yes.

One of the community mobilizers, Sheree Sanders, said on Wednesday she and her partner met one man who wanted to and got his vaccine this way.

"He said he got out of the hospital and he needs the vaccine, but he said he's too weak to open up the door. But he got the door open and he got his vaccine," Sanders said.

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Checking on people at home is the latest move to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19. City and county leaders noted it comes as the Delta variant of the virus is sparking concern.

"This initiative is in line with our strategy to meet people where they are and eliminate any and all barriers to accessing vaccine," said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson.

Organizers said they vaccinated 137 people over eight days.

"One of the most meaningful and impactful experiences that I've had is when I arrived at a person's door and they stated that they would never have gotten the vaccine if it wasn't for me showing up and ringing his doorbell," said Porsha Brown, a nursing student at Alverno College and part of the team of mobilizers.

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The people putting in the steps are required to be fully vaccinated, but they also live in the zip codes they serve. Some like Marcus Austin lost a loved one to COVID-19.

"I want my community to be healthy. If my community is healthy then my family will be healthy, I'll be healthy," Austin said.

All are dedicated to the same mission.

"This is about vaccinating. It's about educating. It's about building confidence in the COVID vaccine, but it's also about building relationships. Relationships and trust in people knowing we are here for them," said Lorraine Lathen, President at Jump at the Sun Consultants, one of the several partners behind this latest effort.

Lathen said they are also working with the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority to bring this work to housing developments like Westlawn, Parklawn, and Hillside. They are building a teen squad of volunteers, as well as, a bilingual Hispanic and Latino team.

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