MILWAUKEE — Consider it a booster shot to Wisconsin's ongoing efforts to get more Wisconsinites vaccinated against COVID-19 as FEMA stepped in Monday to take over Milwaukee's mega-vaccination site at the Wisconsin Center.
"This represents a whole of government effort and a whole of government partnership-- FEMA is coming in with a number of our federal partners to help support the State of Wisconsin's vaccination efforts," Dan Shulman, External Affairs Specialist with FEMA Region 5 told Spectrum News 1 on Monday. "For people in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, they're not going to notice any difference besides the fact thtat the people inside giving the shots are going to be federal employees instead of state and city employees."
Gov. Tony Evers announced the move earlier Monday, confirming that the goal for the site is to continue to administer at least 7,000 doses a week at the downtown Milwaukee convention center.
“We truly appreciate this much-needed support from our federal partners at FEMA that comes at a critical time when Wisconsin is receiving more vaccine and we need more vaccinators getting shots into arms,” Gov. Evers said in a statement. “This mass vaccination clinic can help with the larger population while allowing our partners at the city and county levels to focus on getting the vaccine to more vulnerable populations in harder to reach areas of their communities.”
Shulman said he was optimistic that as vaccine availablity increased nationwide, so too would FEMA's ability to vaccinate more Wisconsinites at the Wisconsin Center.
"While we aren't bringing a specific separate allocation for this site, the federal government is significantly increasing the number of vaccination doses available to the State of Wisconsin," Shulman said. "So, there are vaccines here-- we're going to be able to do about 2,000 vaccinations a day, a combination of first and second doses."
Shulman added that the site, which has been operational for several weeks now, had been working well in terms of vaccine administration and that this move should allow the city and county to broaden its vaccination reach.
"This has been great-- the Evers administration, the State of Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee have been running a great operation," Shulman said. "This federal involvement is just expanding the great work the state and city have already been doing."
The transition to total FEMA control of the vaccination site was expected to continue throughout the week.
For more information on the vaccination site, click here.