Brewers push for vaccinations as state eligibility widens

American Family Field
American Family Field

The Milwaukee Brewers are encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine now that all Wisconsin residents 16 and older are eligible, as of Monday.

The team released a 30-second PSA featuring players Brent Suter, Keston Hiura, Christian Yelich and Freddy Peralta, who campaigned for the vaccine. The video was shot during the team’s recent vaccination event for players and staff, organized by the City of Milwaukee Health Department.

That event was successful in vaccinating a “good chunk” of the Brewers roster with the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, said David Stearns, president – baseball operations during a virtual press conference Monday. The MLB plans to relax COVID-19 protocols, such as masks in bullpens, once 85% of players are vaccinated. 

“We appreciate that our players are viewed by many people as role models,” said Stearns. “If they can help influence others to get vaccinated, or inspire others to learn more about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, that’s valuable and is a step toward keeping others healthy.” 

He said the effort also benefits the game as a whole. Increasing the vaccination rate among players and fans will allow the season to go on with fewer COVID-19-related disruptions, while speeding up the reopening of American Family Field to additional fans.

The Brewers began the regular season over the weekend with 25% fan capacity, or about 11,000 people in the stands, as well as several new safety protocols.

Stearn said fans during opening weekend were diligent in their adherence to the protocols. Additionally, City of Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson agreed. She personally attended Sunday’s game and said she was impressed with fans’ behavior.

Asked about potential plans for a mass vaccination site on the American Family Field property, Johnson said the city is currently focused on the Wisconsin Center site, which is run by FEMA. If the stadium were to become a vaccination site, that wouldn’t happen for another eight weeks. It remains one of the city’s free COVID-19 test sites. 

Wisconsin is weeks ahead of its vaccination schedule, as officials originally anticipated the state would be able to open eligibility to the general public on May 1.

To date, more than 3 million Wisconsinites have been vaccinated, with the state administering most of those doses. The state’s seven-day average for vaccine distribution is 48,967 doses per day.

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that seven new pharmacy partners, representing about 600 pharmacy locations, will begin administering vaccines as part of a federal partnership. The pharmacies include Costco, CVS and Hy-Vee locations, as well as independent pharmacy networks Good Neighbor and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Health Mart, Medicine Shoppe and Cardinal Health, and Topco.

Milwaukee-based Hayat Pharmacy announced Monday that it will set up a vaccine clinic at the Milwaukee Public Market, on its second floor, on April 5, April 26 and May 3, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Appointments are available through Hayat’s website and walk-ins are welcome.

To find a local vaccine provider visit the COVID-19 vaccine provider map or visit vaccinefinder.org

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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