MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin National Guard citizen Soldiers and Airmen serving on mobile vaccination teams have assisted local health departments throughout the state administer nearly 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines since establishing the first mobile vaccination teams in late January.
Guard personnel on mobile vaccination teams have responded to requests for assistance in more than a dozen Wisconsin counties including: Barron, Buffalo, Columbia, Eau Claire, Jefferson, Kenosha, Marathon, Milwaukee, Portage, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Walworth, Waukesha, and Winnebago.
“The collaboration between the Wisconsin National Guard, Department of Health Services, and communities and organizations throughout the state has been incredible,” said Capt. Amanda Dickenson, the Wisconsin National Guard’s officer-in-charge for the vaccine and specimen collection action team. “It is constantly evolving and allowing us all to grow in our efficiencies, outreach, and availability to provide easy access to COVID vaccinations to all Wisconsin's citizens as a team. It is because of these relationships that we have been able to reach a milestone of 100,000 vaccinations administered only month's into the collective vaccination efforts.”
In addition, approximately 45 Guard personnel are supporting mass community vaccination sites in Madison, Milwaukee and Kenosha. The community vaccination teams have helped administer more than 78,300 vaccines since beginning operations in early April.
The community vaccination teams have helped widen the availability of vaccinations in underserved communities and freed up local resources that are now available to focus on serving other neighborhoods and areas of need.
Wisconsin National Guard members assisting on vaccination teams have done everything from inputting immunization data, to administering vaccines by qualified Guardsmen serving in medical fields, to monitoring for adverse reactions, providing parking and traffic flow plans, transporting vaccines, and everything in between.
“We are directly supporting the health and well-being of our local communities, the ones we live or grew up in, with personnel and resources through a global pandemic affecting the lives of everyone we know and love,” Dickenson said.
Simultaneously Wisconsin National Guard specimen collection teams continue supporting local COVID-19 testing efforts as they operate a number of regional community-based testing sites. The Wisconsin National Guard has supported the state’s COVID-19 response since Mar. 12, 2020.
Teams have collected a cumulative total of over one million specimens since April 2020 at community-based testing sites and institutional-based testing missions. The Wisconsin National Guard’s collection activities support the Wisconsin Department of Health Service’s efforts to ensure COVID-19 testing availability throughout the entire state.
The teams, which are tailorable to meet the needs of a specific facility or community, are dispatched from a larger task force of several hundred Citizen Soldiers and Airmen when they are requested by local health departments. They have established mobile testing sites since April 2020 at locations ranging from correctional facilities, health clinics and institutional facilities, to private businesses, senior-living facilities, and community-based testing sites.
As of May 28, Wisconsin National Guard teams have collected 1,067,240 specimens statewide.
Several dozen troops have also assited the Wisconsin Department of Health Services since late December with managing COVID-19 vaccine inventory at sites across the state.
The Wisconsin National Guard experienced an unprecedented year in 2020 of assisting Wisconsin residents and supporting local officials respond to COVID-19, election worker support and civil disturbance support operations.
Nearly 500 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are currently serving in direct support of the state’s on-going response to COVID-19 in a variety of statuses.