Mass vaccination clinics work to expand access to COVID-19 vaccine
Clinics in Dane and Green counties provide Johnson & Johnson vaccine to underserved and rural communities.
DANE COUNTY, GREEN COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Saturday marked the first weekend since all Wisconsinites age 16 and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, months after doses first arrived in the state. Several mass vaccination clinics in Southern Wisconsin are working to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get vaccinated.
“I’ve absolutely been waiting,” said Oregon resident Nicky Dolan, who received her shot Saturday. Dolan continued, “I’m a permanent makeup artist and a hairdresser, so I work very closely with the general population.”
Dolan is one of more than 600 Wisconsinites who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Saturday in Green County at a special mass vaccination clinic hosted by SSM Health.
“Just to get this done and to get it done once, to get the Johnson & Johnson is very exciting,” Dolan explained.
SSM’s Monroe Clinic has been holding daily vaccination clinics using the Pfizer vaccine. This week marked the first large allocation of the single-dose shot the clinic has seen.
“There are some patients that time-wise, whether they have children at home or whatever it may be, only have time to get one dose,” explained Ashli Asche, SSM Health’s Monroe Clinic primary care clinical manager.
Asche added some people have certain allergies that prevent them from getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. She said some patients drove several hours to the clinic Saturday.
“’Oh I finally get to se my grandchild, I haven’t met them, they were born last year during the pandemic’, we hear that daily,” Asche said.
Wisconsin has administered 140,962 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. On Saturday alone, the Monroe Clinic administered more than 650 doses, and another 500 people got theirs in Sun Prairie.
The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County held their own mass vaccination clinic Saturday at their Sun Prairie location, also giving out the single-dose vaccine.
“Plenty of people in the community had reached out about the fact, about the need for vaccinations,” said Brent Wray, club director of the McKenzie Family Boys and Girls Club.
Wray said registration for Saturday’s event opened for less than an hour before spots filled up, but the Boys and Girls Club also had extra doses for people who were unable to register.
The Boys and Girls Club partnered with Fitchburg Family Pharmacy and UW-Madison to focus on underserved communities.
““That opportunity to serve whoever’s available and then without the barriers of health care and things like that as well, because we know a lot of families that we serve, that’s a barrier,” Wray explained.
At both clinics, one thing was clear: more shots in more arms is a priority.
“This is something that’s going to help people move forward,” Wray said.
Dolan added, “It feels like turning a page, like we’re turning a page and maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
SSM will continue having clinics with the Pfizer vaccine Monday through Friday. Scheduling is available online through MyChart.
The Boys and Girls Club is holding two more Saturday clinics at their other Dane County locations over the next two weeks. More information and registration is available here.
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