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PHMDC plans pop-up vaccine clinics at Dane County festivals

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Public Health Madison and Dane County will host a vaccine clinic at Summer Frolic in Mount Horeb.

MOUNT HOREB (WKOW) -- Vaccinations in Wisconsin have slowed down recently, and now public health officials are trying something new to make it easier for people to get their shots.

"Now we're recognizing it's about reducing barriers to access, and that means being out more in the community where we're more accessible," Tess Ellens, the immunization coordinator for PHMDC, said.

The department is hosting a series of pop-up clinics throughout Dane County, including at the Summer Frolic festival in Mount Horeb.

"It's safe to say that you'll see us and at most, if not all, of those community festivals within all parts of Dane County," Ellens said. "That's a perfect place to show partnership [and] community, and being present to give vaccines there is something that we're very excited to do."

Ellens said PHMDC isn't trying to vaccinate a large number of people at these events.

"Even if we vaccinate just a handful of people, we consider that a success because they might not have been vaccinated otherwise," she said.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Ajay Sethi said smaller vaccination efforts like PHMDC's will become more critical as demand for vaccine demand drops.

"We're in that sort of period now where the supply is greater than the demand, and we chip away at the number of people who are going to be getting vaccinated or choosing vaccination," he said. "And that's the hard work."

Sethi said health officials across the country are trying a lot of different things to boost vaccination numbers.

"There are a lot of approaches because there are a lot of incentives or a lot of things that people need to get them over the fence," he said. "Younger individuals are more responsive to lotteries. ... People who maybe have not as much confidence in the vaccine really appreciate talking to an expert."

Sethi said Wisconsin will likely not meet President Biden's goal of 70% of adults having at least one vaccine shot by July 4. However, he said more focused vaccination efforts, like those PHMDC have planned, will help the state reach that benchmark eventually.

"The more people who are vaccinated, the better it is for everybody in the state," he said.

In addition to the clinic at Summer Frolic, PHMDC will have pop-up vaccine clinics at Rookie's in Mazomanie on Thursday and at Funk's Pub in Fitchburg on Saturday. The department is also still offering vaccines at the Alliant Energy Center.

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Caroline Dade

Reporter/Multimedia Journalist, 27 News

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