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Appleton hires vaccine distribution coordinator to prepare rollout

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The City of Appleton hasn’t gotten any COVID-19 vaccinations yet, but its leaders want to be prepared when it does.

“I think as many of us have seen, this task of vaccinating whole communities is easier said than done,” said Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford.

That’s why Woodford authorized a temporary, grant-funded COVID vaccine coordinator for the city’s health department, though it has yet to get its first round of vaccinations.

“There have been a lot of hiccups in a lot of communities across the country, and I want to make sure that when the time comes from Appleton, the city of Appleton, to play a role in this process to serve our residents, we’re ready to go,” said Woodford.

To Appleton Public Health Officer Kurt Eggebrecht this preparatory step is necessary.

“We really need to have an organized rollout of pour vaccine in order to be effective, so this position is pivotal to make that happen,” said Eggebrecht.

The person hired for that role, Julie Lederhaus, has some experience, having worked with the Appleton Health Department years ago on developing mass vaccination plans.

“We have some very basic building blocks, but they’ve been tested, they’ve been used, we have experience with them,” said Lederhaus. “So they’ll give us a great start. As the mayor said, we want to make sure we’re ready when the time comes.”

That time could come sooner rather than later, since the city placed its first vaccine order Tuesday.

“It could be any day that we get it,” said Eggebrecht.

The first round will go to people in the 1A vaccine group, like EMS, public health members, school nurses, and so on.

Lederhaus says she plans to work with health care partners, neighboring communities, and others throughout her planning process.

“Really just getting that coordination and bringing everyone together,” said Lederhaus.

So that hopefully when the vaccine can be distributed more widely, they’re ready.

“That’s going to be a focus for us, to make sure we’re getting good information out there and that, when it’s time, when your number is called you know where to go, what to do and how to be a good member of the community,” said Lederhaus.

The City of Appleton also announced its community COVID-19 testing site is moving. Effective next Monday, January 11, the testing site will be at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, 355 W. Lawrence Street. The city extended its testing with the Wisconsin National Guard through March 10.

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