Through a joint federal, state, and local partnership, Governor Tony Evers announced on March 15 that federal support would begin at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee for COVID-19 vaccinations.
“FEMA’s work here in Milwaukee is a valuable addition to our efforts. The new people and resources help expand our capacity, and, importantly, allows us to redeploy local vaccinators to underserved and under-vaccinated areas of the city,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “All the partners in planning for FEMA’s arrival have worked collaboratively and kept the focus on vaccinating as many people as possible promptly and efficiently.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 5 will coordinate staffing support to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Wisconsin has committed to providing at least 7,000 weekly vaccine doses from the state’s allocation for the site.
“We truly appreciate this much-needed support from our federal partners at FEMA that comes at a critical time when Wisconsin is receiving more vaccine and we need more vaccinators getting shots into arms,” said Governor Evers. “This mass vaccination clinic can help with the larger population while allowing our partners at the city and county levels to focus on getting the vaccine to more vulnerable populations in harder to reach areas of their communities.”
Operations at the Milwaukee Center vaccination site will transition to the federal government this week, continuing the good work already being done at the state and local level to increase vaccine access in the Milwaukee area. The mass vaccination clinic is a joint effort between the City of Milwaukee, County of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the State of Wisconsin, and FEMA Region 5.
“This vaccination center is an important resource for expanding and expediting vaccine availability to communities that need it the most,” said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. “The Milwaukee Center vaccination site reflects a true, whole-of-government effort; FEMA is grateful to our partners at the state of Wisconsin and county and city of Milwaukee, as well as our federal family partners for their continued coordination and collective efforts to help end this pandemic.”
Efforts at the Wisconsin Center have been focused on vaccinating first responders and teachers, with other groups becoming eligible on March 29. Governor Evers said he wanted all Wisconsin residents to be able to begin receiving the vaccine by May 1. The state is on track to give out its 2 millionth dose of the vaccine on March 15.
“We’re happy to join federal and state partners in opening a regional mass vaccination site. It is our hope the site will free up resources at the municipal level and allow for targeting communities heavily impacted by the disease, but underserved in the deployment of the vaccine thus far,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.