Wisconsin Center Vaccine Sign
The Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee has been used as a vaccine hub since January. (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)

Madison and Eau Claire may also get federal help to boost the vaccination rate.

The state Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are combining efforts to open a regional COVID-19 vaccination clinic in downtown Milwaukee, Deputy DHS Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said Monday during a meeting of Milwaukee County mayors.

FEMA will set the clinic up at the Wisconsin Center, which has served as a vaccine hub for the city of Milwaukee since January. WISN-TV first reported last month that FEMA was eyeing Milwaukee and Madison as potential sites for the agency’s vaccination centers program. Willems Van Dijk also told the Wisconsin State Journal Eau Claire is another possible federal clinic location.

FEMA couldn’t immediately be reached for confirmation of a timeline for the Milwaukee site, or whether it was still considering other sites in Wisconsin.

At least 7,000 doses will be sent to the Milwaukee center each week, Willems Van Dijk said.

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Milwaukee County’s vaccination rate—15.4% of the general population has received a first dose—is lower than the state’s rate of 18.4%, according to the DHS presentation. Further, 56.5% of the county’s senior residents have received a first dose as compared to 61.6% of the state’s senior population.

DHS anticipates Milwaukee County’s numbers will match the state averages within about a month, Willems Van Dijk said. 

The state’s vaccine supply is still much lower than the demand, according to DHS. This week, vaccinators across the state requested about 430,000 first doses, but the state only received about 140,000. The supply has greatly improved over January and the first half of February, when the state was only receiving about 70,000 doses per week.