Health center hosts vaccine clinic for Natives, '1st in fatality rates'

More Native Americans are getting vaccinated in Wisconsin than ever before.

"This is really looking at a federal, state and local effort to get the vaccine into the community," said Dr. Lyle Ignace with the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center. "We know the statistics of the state where Natives are third in transmission, second in hospitalization and unfortunately, first in fatality rates, so the timing of the vaccine and its rollout – critically important." 

COVID-19 vaccine

On Tuesday, March 23, the health center in Milwaukee hosted its second vaccine clinic directed at Native communities.

"We increased our capacity, as well as expanded our eligibility to include states, counties, from Green Bay all the way down to Chicago and from Milwaukee all the way to Madison," said Dr. Ignace.

This, as top state health officials dropped in to see the work for themselves.

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center

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"It really feels like we’re turning a corner," said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. "We’re getting shots in people’s arms." 

"What we see here is a really efficient operation that’s making sure that people can get access to COVID vaccines," said Karen Timberlake, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center

For everyone in Wisconsin, especially Native Americans, it seems we are slowly turning the corner on the pandemic, but to say the hard work is out of the way would be inaccurate.

"I think it’s important that everyone when that eligibility becomes available to you that you take every opportunity to get the vaccine," said Ignace.