MILWAUKEE - The COVID-19 vaccine rollout picked up steam in the City of Milwaukee this week.
On Thursday and Friday, Jan. 7 and 9, the city doled out its first batch of the Pfizer vaccine to health department staff and fire department staff who respond to medical emergencies.
"Individuals are eager and enthusiastic about getting the shot and understanding the impact that it has," said Marliana Jackson, Milwaukee's interim health commissioner.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said they were able to stretch the 100 doses they were given to 120 frontline health care workers.
"We feel confident that the state is being aggressive now in getting additional dosages," Barrett said. "We learned very quickly, and this is in the good news category, is that the 100 doses we received, was essentially 20 containers of five doses each, could actually in real life become six doses."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Center, normally a venue for trade shows and events, is set to open on Tuesday, Jan. 12 as a site to administer the vaccine.
To make sure no one tampers with the vaccine, Barrett said refrigeration units are being installed in the Wisconsin Center at a secure location. It will be under 24/7 surveillance, and few people will have access to it.
Wisconsin Center officials say they have a flexible, multi-month agreement in place with the city.
"Quite honestly, until everyone that wants to get vaccinated is vaccinated, there are going to be limits on how we’re used," said Marty Brooks, CEO of the Wisconsin Center. "We will make sure we can find space to accommodate the city health department."
Training begins Monday at the Wisconsin Center for at least 30 more health care workers to give the vaccine as more of it heads to Cream City.
Barrett said 800 more doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive on Monday as well. He also said larger batches are expected to start coming weekly from then on.