Boys & Girls Club of Dane County switches mass vaccination clinic to Pfizer

After Wisconsin paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the group had to adjust to keep their clinics afloat.
Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County held their second mass vaccination clinic Saturday, expanding access to hundreds of people. The group has tried to use these clinics to reach people who face barriers to the vaccine, including lack of health care or transportation.

“If I could do anything to help out, I will,” said UW-Madison pharmacy student Salma Abdelwahab.

Abdelwahab, along with several other students, volunteered at Saturday’s clinic to help administer the vaccines.

“People are coming in, excited to get their shots. You can see that people are hopeful and feeling like this is about to end soon,” Abdelwahab described.

However, just days before, the fate of this clinic was uncertain. The Boys & Girls Club had planned to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but when the state paused administering that shot Tuesday, the group had to adjust to keep their clinics going.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County is having its second Saturday clinic, administering the COVID-19 vaccine to about...

Posted by Sanika Bhargaw NBC15 on Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Boys & Girls Club worked with Fitchburg Family Pharmacy to switch to the Pfizer vaccine, still reaching about 500 people in Madison Saturday afternoon.

“We are trying to eliminate all barriers to access,” said Laura Ford-Harris, chief development officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County.

Ford-Harris said the clinics focus on those hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, including communities of color.

“These are community centers, we are here on the weekends to make sure that everyone has access to the vaccine,” she explained.

One way the group is expanding access is by accepting walk-ins.

“I had been looking for appointments for the past couple weeks, and it’s been hard to find one,” explained Isabelle Booker, who got vaccinated as a walk-in Saturday.

Booker heard about the clinic the same day. She could no longer pre-register, but she still got the shot.

“It was wonderful, so seamless and easy,” she said of the process. Booker added, “I just have a lot of friends and family who are high risk. I don’t want to put them in danger, I just want to feel safe when I’m around my family.”

The Boys & Girls Club will host a follow-up clinic in three weeks to make sure everyone who came by on Saturday can get their second dose.

“This is how we’re going to get through this pandemic,” Abdelwahab explained.

Ford-Harris added, “If we can have one person who gets this vaccine and helps the entire community be able to get back out there and get back into the world, it’s so worth it.”

The Boys & Girls Club is also planning more clinics to administer the vaccine. The next clinic will be Saturday, April 24 at their Fitchburg location off of Jenewein Road. People can register online at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County website.

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