EagleHerald Editor

MARINETTE—Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was in Marinette to praise a partnership that will clear a path for many more Marinette County residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Evers toured the Prevea COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Monday morning at the UW Green Bay, Marinette Campus. The clinic, which began administering COVID-19 vaccination shots shortly after Evers’ visit, is being conducted in the Max E. Peterson Field House, 1125 University Drive.

The effort is a collaboration between the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Prevea Health, UW-Green Bay and Marinette County Public Health.

“That’s how Wisconsinites are,” Evers said of the group effort. “They help each other. Neighbors helping neighbors and communities pulling together to make sure everything works well. That is the same here. It’s all hands on deck.”

The governor was joined by DHS interim Secretary Karen Timberlake, Prevea President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai, Marinette County Public Health Officer Molly Bonjean and UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander.

“We feel very good about what’s happening here,” Evers said. “It’s a great, great partnership. I have to give a shout out to Molly (Bonjean). The folks that are doing the work locally at the county level, and the municipal level, during this pandemic, have been really superb. It is hard work. I’ve had a chance to meet many of them all across the state.”

The clinic will feature:

  • Two check-in stations, including a mobile interpreter service for those who don’t speak English.
  • Four private vaccination booths equipped with computers and bar code scanners.
  • Sixty four chairs spaced out in a designated post-vaccine recovery area.

The clinic will expand to six private vaccination booths and three check-in stations on Thursday.

The site is designed to administer as many as 1,450 doses each week, depending on the amount of vaccine Prevea Health is allocated by DHS. In preparation for the clinic launch on Monday, 150 people received their first dose at the site last week during a “soft launch” designed to train workers and make everything is running smoothly. It is estimated that another 750 people will receive their first dose throughout the rest of this week.

Depending on the type of vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna, people have to wait three or four weeks to get their second dose.

Evers again referenced teamwork, stating that clinics like the one in Marinette and another in Oconto Falls are vital when combatting the coronavirus.

“For us to reach across the state we need partners like this,” he said. “This pandemic is not just around Madison and Milwaukee, it’s around Marinette, it’s around Rice Lake and it’s around southwest Wisconsin. The more we have partnerships like this, the easier it is going to be to ensure that we serve the entire State of Wisconsin.

“Thanks to (chancellor) Michael Alexander and Dr. Rai (of Prevea) the people in the Marinette will be well served.”

Alexander said UW-Green Bay is thrilled to join this partnership.

“We believe the goal of a regional university is to make the region we serve better,” he said.

Rai mentioned an opioid addiction treatment clinic located in Marinette as another Prevea effort in this area.

“It has always been our commitment to bring our health care closer to those who need it,” he said. “I’m very proud to now take this focus to vaccinating our rural communities.”

Rai said by working with Marinette County Public Health, the two organizations were able to pool their resources.

Bonjean talked about the difficulties everyone faced in 2020. She said since the start of the pandemic, Marinette County has had 4,349 positive COVID-19 tests and 64 deaths related to the virus.

“These are not just statistics, these are lives lost,” Bonjean said. “On a positive note, we are currently averaging just three new cases per day.”

She stressed the importance of people getting vaccinated.

“We need to get the vaccines in arms,” she said. “It’s important for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to achieve community protection.

“The COVID vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective and are the most reliable way to protect ourselves, our families and our community.”

Timberlake stated clinics like the one in Marinette, pharmacies and community clinics are all vital to get vaccines to residents.

“It took us (DHS) about 48 days to deliver the first 500,000 vaccines across our state and just 18 days to deliver the second 500,000 to get to over a million, which is where we are today,” she said.

Timberlake said about 1.2 million doses have been administered and about 46% of all people over age 65 have received their first dose.

Evers stressed that while the nation is “turning the corner” against COVID-19, the battle continues.

“We are looking forward to getting back to a better, more logical, way of life here in Wisconsin,” Evers said. “It’s important that we have people get vaccinated. It’s important to continue with precautions while these vaccinations are going forward and until such time that this virus has been defeated we need to continue to be safe. We can’t afford to allow the virus to increase.

“That means wear a mask, ensure you’re social distant and do all those things you know are the right things to do.”

Rai, the Prevea president, said Marinette will be a hub for the entire county and his organization will work with Bonjean to see that the service can stretch into the northern part of the county as the vaccine supply allows for it.

“This is not the end of what we do in Marinette County; it’s only the beginning,” Rai said.

Notes:

  • People are encouraged to create a MyPrevea account at myprevea.com as that is where vaccine scheduling is available. They do not have to be a Prevea patient to sign up for a MyPrevea account. People can sign up online or by phone. More information is available at www.prevea.com/vaccine or by calling 1-833-344-4373.
  • For DHS vaccination guidelines as to who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine, people can visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm. People currently eligible to receive the vaccine include first responders, healthcare workers and people 65 and older. The next eligible group (starting March 1) will include educators, day care employees and other essential workers.
  • Prevea Health also operates community COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Green Bay at UW-Green Bay; Sheboygan at UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus; Oconto Falls at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital; and Chippewa Falls at Jacob’s Well Church.