COVID-19 vaccine clinics still seeing people seeking their first shot

Health officials say turnout has dropped significantly, but getting any more shots in arms is worth it.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:20 PM CDT
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WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (WMTV) - Nearly four months after all Wisconsinites ages 16 and up became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, counties are still holding clinics for people not yet vaccinated, and they are seeing people still seeking their first shot. Almost 50 percent of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated.

A Friday clinic in Wisconsin Dells, held by Columbia County Public Health, saw less than two dozen people in six hours, but health officials said as long as they are still getting more shots in arms, it is worth the wait.

Dells resident Chris Swart was one of those arms, among the 20 or so people who got their COVID vaccine at that Friday clinic. Swart said the convenience of the clinic helped – the location at the Kilbourn Library was on his way home from work.

Swart also said he initially waited to get his shot, but seeing so many other Wisconsinites get vaccinated convinced him it was the right time.

“I wouldn’t want be the first one out of the gate, but like I said enough has gone by where it’s time,” he explained.

His job is also a factor – he works around multiple groups of people, and this makes it a little bit easier.

“I own dorm housing stuff in the Dells for international students and domestic kids too,” Swart described.

Wisconsin National Guard team leader Cory Krejcarek helped run Friday’s clinic alongside Columbia County health officials. He said compared to this spring, turnout has dropped significantly, but it has not completely dried up.

“Better late than never I suppose,” he said.

The clinic offered both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and Krejcarek said they administered about an equal number of each.

“The Pfizer is good for the kids that are 12 and older, and then some people just want the one and done,” he explained.

Terri Schmidt is one of the people grateful for the single-dose shot.

“I’m not a fan of shots, not at all, and I was nervous,” she explained.

Schmidt’s fear of needles was an obstacle to getting the shot, but the recent spread of the Delta variant pushed her to do it.

“It’s time, and this variant is pretty scary,” she said, adding the vaccine was not as bad as she feared.

Schmidt, who chose to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, said news about possible blood clots and a rare nerve syndrome linked to that shot did give her pause, but it is a risk she decided to take.

“One out of how many thousand it could happen to, it’s worth getting,” she explained.

Worth getting – to feel just a little bit safer.

“You’re not invincible, but it does feel good to have it done,” Schmidt said.

Swart added, “It’s over and done with, and we can move forward.”

Columbia County health officials said they are trying to get to as many community events as possible. Over the weekend, they will be at the county fair administering vaccines.

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