City of Milwaukee continues to offer booster, vaccinations to community

Anyone+over+the+age+of+5+is+now+eligible+to+receive+the+COVID-19+vaccine

Anyone over the age of 5 is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Wisconsin is currently ranked 22nd for percentage of population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at 64.2% and 70.8% with at least one dose. However, Milwaukee still remains in the “extreme transmission” category, meaning total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days exceeds 100.

“We are seeing encouraging trends in declining cases, lower positivity and declining hospitalizations and while the trends are certainly in the right direction and we should celebrate that, it’s important to remember the absolute numbers of each of these are still critically high,” Ben Weston, chief policy health advisor for Milwaukee County, said in a briefing Feb. 1

The Milwaukee Health Department currently has three community vaccination clinics at Northwest Health Center, Southside Health Center and Menomonee Valley Site, all of which are within 20 minutes of Marquette’s campus. The health department also has a mobile vaccination clinic schedule updated until Feb. 25 on their website.

In an effort to boost Milwaukee’s vaccination rate, the Milwaukee Health Department launched a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive program Feb. 3. Anyone ages five and older who receives their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at any Milwaukee Health Department vaccination clinic will receive a $100 gift card on site. 

“It’s heartbreaking to continue to receive the list of Milwaukeeans who have lost their lives to this virus when the vaccine is free and readily available,” Kirsten Johnson, commissioner of health for the City of Milwaukee, said in a briefing Feb. 1. “I know we are all ready for the day when COVID-19 doesn’t dictate the decisions we make for ourselves and our families but the only way to get there is through vaccination.”

As of Feb. 8, all 1,000 gift cards available were handed out to newly vaccinated individuals.

“We would not have had an additional 1,000 residents vaccinated against COVID-19 had we not done that so that is a win for our community,” Cavalier Johnson, acting Mayor of Milwaukee, said in a briefing Feb. 8.

The Marquette Medical Clinic will offer a COVID-19 vaccine and booster clinic at the Alumni Memorial Union March 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students, faculty, staff and dependents. The clinic will have first, second and booster doses available along with influenza vaccines.

The previous clinic at the AMU held Feb. 1 administered more than 360 COVID-19 shots, including multiple first-time doses of the vaccine, and 50 flu shots.

“I’m happy with Marquette’s vaccine efforts and I do feel safe on campus with vaccine and mask mandates,” Savannah Jankowski, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said. “I don’t know what else they could be doing at this point.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee declined to 2,864 cases Feb. 9, the lowest point this year and first time below 3,000 cases since November 2021.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association also reported a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and a decline in number of patients in intensive care.

“We’re continuing to see a decrease in the disease burden in our community and that’s a promising sign,” acting Mayor Johnson said in a briefing Feb. 1. “Although we’re seeing improvement, we still remain in the extreme transmission category and need to continue practicing the appropriate safety measures like wearing a mask, washing our hands and watching our distance, not to mention of course getting vaccinated.”

Since Feb. 1, there have been 1,600 positive COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee, with a 8.8.% positivity rate. As of Feb. 14, Milwaukee still has an “extreme transmission” status with 201 confirmed cases per 100 thousand, though the percent positivity rate has dropped to a “substantial transmission” status.

Marquette University’s COVID-19 alert status is yellow, meaning 5% to 10% of COVID-19 tests are positive, as of Feb. 14. There have been 55 positive COVID-19 cases in the last seven days and 138 in the last 14 days.

“We are certainly moving in the right direction,” Weston said in a briefing Feb. 8. “In the next two weeks, we would anticipate being in a much better place with our disease burden throughout the county and in the state as well.”

Weston also said it’s time to start the discussions regarding lifting the Milwaukee County mask mandate.

As of Jan. 22, the Milwaukee County mask ordinance will remain in effect until March 1, 2022 but acting Mayor Johnson said if trends continue to go in a positive direction, it could end early.

This story was written by Bailey Striepling. She can be reached at bailey.striepling@marquette.edu.