UW Oshkosh joined the vaccination effort that could help get Wisconsin past the pandemic with the opening of its community vaccination site at the Culver Family Welcome Center (CFWC) last week.
“The University of Wisconsin’s new way of doing things is not only to educate all people in the state,” UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson said. “I’ve added a new twist that the University of Wisconsin also wants to be at the forefront of problem-solving.”
The community COVID-19 vaccination center opened on the UWO campus Feb. 16 in partnership with Advocate Aurora Health of Oshkosh and the Winnebago County Health Department.
The vaccine center at the CFWC is one of four on UW System campuses.
Wisconsin is currently vaccinating those in Phase 1a, which includes healthcare workers, essential workers and those age 65 and over.
Eligible members of the community may request a COVID-19 vaccination appointment on the UWO Titans Return website at https://uwosh.edu/titans-return/vaccination/.
“This is a really important day,” Gov. Tony Evers said at the Friday press conference celebrating the opening of the vaccine center.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the University of Wisconsin System and health systems across the state of Wisconsin to make sure that we do get adequate vaccines,” Evers said.
Oshkosh Chair of Infection Prevention at Aurora Health Brian Temple said this community vaccine site is focused on vaccinating groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
This includes frontline healthcare workers and communities of color that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
“We are determined to use every avenue we can to help engage individuals around the importance of vaccines,” Temple said.
Evers said the community clinic is also intended to help vaccinate those without health insurance.
“Because it’s a community clinic, we’re hoping that we will reach out to people that are disenfranchised from the healthcare world,” he said.
The center currently vaccinates around 250 individuals a day, according to UWO vaccination site operations leader Tracy Miller, but the site has the capacity to administer 1,000 a day if they are allotted enough doses.
Patients of the center will receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, depending on supply, both of which require two doses.
Winnebago County health officer Doug Gieryn said it’s important for county residents to continue social distancing and wearing a mask while vaccines roll out.
“By continuing our current efforts we will prevent hospitalizations and protect our most vulnerable citizens,” he said.
Gieryn said cases have fortunately trended down in recent weeks, but relaxed behavior before the majority of the county is vaccinated will cause more spikes in cases.
Over 10% of Winnebago County’s population has tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to Gieryn, with over 16,000 total probable or confirmed cases of the virus in the county.
“Right now the vaccine is flowing slowly — I ask you to be patient,” he said. “We have more vaccines on the way.”