Milwaukee city and county leaders said they have a united message to deliver to President Joe Biden on his first official visit: Send more COVID-19 vaccines.
Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive David Crowley spoke Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
“This is his first official trip outside Washington, D.C., and we’re very proud that he’s chosen Milwaukee and Wisconsin as his first trip,” Barrett said.
Biden will attend a CNN town hall Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at the Pabst Theater.
The mayor said he met with the state health officials last weekend about boosting Milwaukee’s vaccine supply.
But they blamed, in part, limits in their supply coming from the federal government.
“With the president’s visit to our community, I would be remiss if I did not share that our greatest need is for more vaccines,” Crowley said. “We can’t continue to add more people to the list, tell people to get vaccinated when we don’t have enough doses. So I want to hear more about that.”
Crowley said more vaccines will better help reach traditionally underserved communities.
“We know that one of the issues in our way is supply,” he said. “So an increase in the number of vaccines allocated to not only Wisconsin but Milwaukee County as well, will go a long way to increasing an equitable distribution.”
The Milwaukee Health Department said it only got half of the 4,000 doses it ordered this week. The next order will be for 7,500 doses per week.
Officials said they still don’t know how much of that they will actually receive.
The White House press secretary said Tuesday morning the Biden administration was increasing its COVID-19 vaccine distribution to 13.5 million doses per week.
Milwaukee is also taking additional steps to reduce the racial disparity among those who receive the vaccine in Wisconsin.
The city is planning mobile vaccination clinics in the high-density minority communities.
“We’re seeing these two destructive forces, COVID-19 and structural racism, play out every day during this pandemic,” Crowley said. “So we must do more locally and nationally to address these inequalities.”