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The importance of mass vaccination in La Crosse

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - A mass vaccination clinic opens next Tuesday at the UW-La Crosse Clearly Alumni Center with the priority of reaching those 65 and older.

The La Crosse County Health Department hosts the Community Vaccination Clinic at the university from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The clinic will run Tuesday through Saturday each week.

Maggie Smith, a public information officer from the La Crosse County Health Department said they will be prioritizing anyone currently eligible for the vaccine. She explained that the eligible group is determined by the state Department of Health Services and the state Disaster Medical Advisory Committee.

"In the first few weeks, we are going to prioritize the people in our community who are 65 and older," said Smith. "We know that there are still a number of people eagerly awaiting a vaccine so we are going to use these first few weeks to reach that population."

Smith said anyone that has completed the vaccine screening and interest form through the La Crosse County Health Department is already on their list of next vaccinations. She said they will reach out to those people via email if they included one and if they didn't then they will receive a phone call from the health department.

All people who are eligible for vaccinations at a community clinic need to register for an appointment through the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry.

Smith said the clinic is a joint partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UW-La Crosse, and La Crosse County Health Department. As far as on-site administration goes, AMI expeditionary Healthcare is giving the shots.

She said the clinic provides the community with another step in getting back to normal.

"Vaccination against COVID 19 provides a path to normalcy and I think we are all really eager to see that happen. We are really excited to bring this resource to the community. A community vaccine clinic is a really accessible option, there is no upfront cost, and anyone eligible will be able to receive vaccine from the clinic," said Smith. "It's a really welcome reprieve for the people who are currently vaccinating."

She said they are excited to be able to contact people that are 65 or older that have been patiently waiting to receive the call about their vaccination time.

The opening week Smith said they will have about 200 doses a day to give out and over time as the vaccine supply goes up, they hope to do 1,000 a day. They will be giving the Pfizer vaccine but that could change after a few weeks.

They don't currently have an end date for the vaccination clinic but they hope to continue for a few months. Smith said any opportunity people have to get a vaccine, they should take it.

RELATED: Find local vaccine and vaccination information here

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Rylie Kyhn

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