JANESVILLE

Blackhawk Technical College’s Central Campus between Beloit and Janesville will host Wisconsin’s first community-based COVID-19 vaccination clinic starting Tuesday.

The clinic is intended to reach underserved residents and those who do not have health insurance.

Gov. Tony Evers traveled to Rock County on Wednesday to make the announcement.

“The fact is that in Rock County, Walworth County and Green County there are lots of folks who aren’t part of a health system or don’t have health insurance,” Evers said. “We want to make sure that this site is a home for these people.”

Evers toured the vaccination clinic with officials from the Rock County Public Health Department and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare—the company tasked with operating the site and distributing vaccines.

It is estimated that 9% of Rock County residents are uninsured, according to a 2017 health needs assessment by the Rock County Public Health Department, the most recent data available.

America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation show that 5.7% of Wisconsin residents did not have health coverage in 2019 compared to the national average of 9.2%.

Blackhawk Technical College’s previous experience with mobile testing and vaccination events were a “concept that fits well” in opening the vaccination clinic, AMI Expeditionary Healthcare Senior Operations Manager Dan Beck said.

“This entire project is a partnership, and the only way to meet those challenges is to bring a multidisciplinary response,” Beck said.

The vaccination clinic will be open to Wisconsin residents who fit under eligibility criteria for vaccination. It is expected to deliver 200 vaccinations per day, Rock County Public Health Department Environmental Health Director Rick Wietersen said.

“The plan is to start slow with about 200 doses per day for five days and then reassess on a weekly basis,” Wietersen said.

The health department will announce an online registration form in the coming days to allow residents to sign up to be vaccinated. It also has an outreach plan to reach underserved residents.

The clinic will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. by appointment only.

The supply of the vaccine for the clinic comes from the state’s overall allocation from the federal government and would start slow just like many of the 1,500 vaccinators currently underway in Wisconsin, Evers said.

“The ability to have supply is critical,” Evers said. “There are lots of people in the state to vaccinate, and we need the supply. If doses stay flat, that’s a problem. We’re opening this great facility, and (doses) come from the state allocation.”

AMI has been contracted by the state to open six to 10 additional community-based vaccination clinics across Wisconsin.

A spokesperson for Blackhawk Technical College said the college’s financial contribution was “minimal,” but did not specify a dollar amount.

The cost of operating the clinic was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

At Beloit Health System, 6,129 vaccine doses have been administered since Dec. 22. In Janesville, Mercyhealth has administered more than 12,000 vaccinations since Dec. 22, and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital has administered 1,500 doses of vaccine, according to officials from the three health care organizations.

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