OSHKOSH, Wis.— The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is the newest community vaccination center to open its doors. 

Gov. Tony Evers visited Friday to tour the new site. The center has the capacity to distribute up to 1,000 vaccines a day. 

A short line of people walked into the Culver Family Center at UWO’s campus on opening day.

First in line was Rodolfo Tapia who helped register his 75-year-old mother, Imelda Olvera. As a survivor of COVID-19, both were emotional to finally see the day Olvera would get a vaccine. 

“It was very bad; they were kind of sick. They were in bed for at least two weeks, so it was bad,” says Tapia recalling the long recovery time for his mother. 

UWO teamed up with Advocate Aurora Healthcare to administer 250 vaccines on the very first day of operations. A team of registered nurses and health professionals helped get shots in arms for eligible people with appointments. 

“It’s exciting; I also asked for the day off to come because it’s important,” says Tapia. Both were guided by a local doctor, to secure an appointment at UWO.

This site is open to anyone eligible in the region but hopes to target minorities like Tapia and his mother Imelda, who may not otherwise have had access to a vaccine site. 

Virtual translators were on-site to reach out to underserved communities, not letting language be a barrier.

“All these community type clinics, we’re hopeful to get to people that don’t have health care insurance, those that don’t have primary care physicians, those that are sort of outside of the health care world,” says Evers.

Evers signed Bill (AB) 4 to allow pharmacy technicians to administer COVID-19 vaccines. This will prepare this site, and all across the state to get vaccines in arms. 

“Over 10% of our population has had a positive test; we estimate roughly a third of the population of this area has been infected already. We’ve been waiting for this day for a while,” says Doug Gieryn, with Winnebago County health department.

Appointments are made online, here. The center expects to stay open through the spring for both COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.