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Former Badgers star Montee Ball encourages COVID vaccines at clinic

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison-area doctors are borrowing star power to vaccinate the community as the Delta variant of COVID-19 quickly spreads.

The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center invited former NFL running back and Badgers star Montee Ball to a drive-thru resource fair on Saturday at Penn Park. The event offered a free vaccine clinic, as well as a chance for Ball to share his experience getting vaccinated.

“I talk a lot about our Black and Brown communities, how we don’t really trust health care officials, physicians, providers, et cetera because of past experiments, all of the above,” Ball said. “But I tell folks that this is not the one. This is not the one that they’re trying to fool us on. We need this.”

On Saturday, the vaccine tracker from the Department of Health Services showed that less than 30 percent of Black Wisconsinites have gotten a dose or more of the coronavirus vaccine.

“African American men particularly are not getting the vaccination, so we wanted a young Black man who has name recognition,” Fabu Carter, senior outreach specialist with the Alzheimer’s research center, said.

Friday data from Public Health Madison & Dane County showed the Delta variant as the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Dane County.

“What we do know about the Delta variant is that it’s spreading faster amongst the community, and it spreads the most amongst people who are unvaccinated, who don’t have the defenses against this coronavirus,” Dr. Sheryl Henderson, an infectious diseases specialist at UW Health, said.

Dr. Henderson was also at the resource fair to answer any questions about the vaccine.

“I trust the vaccines. I don’t trust the virus,” she said.

Other community organizations including the African American Opioid Coalition, Madison Public Library and 100 Black Men joined the resource fair as well. Carter said all the groups shared goals of giving back to the community and focusing on wellness.

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