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Wisconsin National Guard to deploy mobile COVID vaccination teams

COVID-19 vaccine doses being produced on the Modern production line.
COVID-19 vaccine doses being produced on the Modern production line.(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 12:16 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Department of Health Services will launch a Mobile Vaccination Program on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says this effort will “accelerate” COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the state.

The National Guard will provide support and resources to partners on the local level.

“It has always been our goal to get folks vaccinated as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible,” said Gov. Evers. “These mobile vaccination teams are going to help us do just that by continuing to expand vaccine distribution across our state, leveraging partnerships and our best resources to meet folks where they are in their own communities.”

The Mobile Vaccination Program will send out nine teams to help scale up vaccinations of people in Phase 1A, Phase 1B and beyond. The state has not yet decided on who will be vaccinated in the 1B phase. They’re currently taking public comments on their recommendations. Public comments need to be emailed to DHSSDMAC@dhs.wisconsin.gov by 4 p.m. Monday, January 18.

These mobile clinics will be staffed by National Guard and pharmacy and nursing student volunteers. The volunteers will be made available through a partnership with the UW System.

“Making vaccines available to the public is an all-of-Wisconsin effort that requires collaboration across state government,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “Our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen in the Wisconsin National Guard have been an integral part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re honored to continue serving our fellow citizens in this way.”

As of Friday, Jan. 15, the state had administered 213,056 vaccines. DHS says 373,100 have been shipped to the state. CLICK HERE to track COVID-19 vaccine numbers in Wisconsin.

Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai says scaling up is important when it comes to giving out the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As we learn more about vaccination and we learn more about how many people we have to vaccinate, and we start to look at processes, and this vaccine in itself, being a little more sensitive, how it’s drawn up, that it expires, has to be used by the end of the day--all of those factors come into play. It’s a lot easier to do this at scale at one big--or four big sites for us--and then for other health systems to pick a site and just run versus trying to squeeze a patient in between normal patients in a clinic. We have over 100 sites we provide care at, but that means distributing the methodology 100 times versus doing it in really big ways. So for the initial surge of vaccinations, for the foreseeable, say four-to-six months, you got to go big,” Dr. Rai told Action 2 News.

On Jan. 18, Prevea Health and Bellin Health will open COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the Green Bay area. Currently, only people in the first phase group are eligible to get the vaccine. These clinics are not open to the general public.

Prevea’s clinic is at the Kress Center on the campus of UW-Green Bay. Bellin’s clinic is at their Ashwaubenon location on Commanche Ave.

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