MILWAUKEE - Starting Monday morning, March 22, Milwaukee County's ZIP code vaccination program begins. Local officials say it's a huge step toward equal access to the vaccine.
Registration through the county's vaccination site at the Kosciuszko Community Center has already begun, but that's not your only option. Monday at 10 a.m., two sites are opening in Milwaukee -- at North Division High School and South Division High School -- where no appointment is necessary.
"This is a new chapter," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "We have not done walk-up clinics before."
Milwaukee County residents in 10 ZIP codes are welcome to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccine. The only other requirement is age.
"In those ZIP codes, all individuals 16 and above, if they receive the Pfizer, and 18 and above for the other vaccinations, will be eligible for vaccinations," said Barrett.
The chosen ZIP codes are some of the most underserved and rank highest on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Social Vulnerability Index, yet officials say those neighborhoods have some of the lowest vaccination rates.
"My heart felt joy. This is a huge win for health equity in the state," said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, a public health physician and pedeatrician with UW Health.
Zapata is a Milwaukee native and grew up in three of the eligible ZIP codes.
"From a health care professional being inside the hospital walls and also being from Milwaukee, I ask that all of you just consider it," said Zapata.
She's urging the public to take their best shot at health.
"The shots are very safe and effective, and it's an important tool in our toolbox to overcome this," said Zapata.
Community leaders on Sunday expressed the importance of increasing access and simplifying the process.
"It's paramount we get our under-represented communities to these sites," said Milwaukee Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.
They expressed the importance of increasing access -- and simplifying the process.
"It shows that they care," said Maribel Dorantes, 20.
Dorantes, who lives in one of the priority ZIP codes, said this is a positive step forward.
"We need our health to be secure," said Dorantes.
The city's walk-in vaccination sites at North Division High School (1011 W. Center Street) and South Division High School (1515 W. Lapham Boulevard) will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointments necessary.
You will not be asked for your social security information or citizenship status.
You do not need health insurance, and the vaccine is free.
Meantime, to receive your vaccine through Milwaukee County's COVID-19 vaccination site -- Kosciuszko Community Center -- appointments are required. REGISTER HERE.
The priority ZIP codes are:
Also Monday, individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions that have a greater risk of severe infection from COVID-19 will be eligible for a vaccination. The list of medical conditions can be found on the state Department of Health Services' website.