BELOIT — COVID-19 walk-in vaccination clinics in Rock County are now beginning as county public health officials say demand for the vaccine is starting to slow as supply catches up.
Walgreens and the Rock County Public Health Department will partner to offer two COVID-19 vaccination clinics on May 2 and May 8 in both Beloit and Janesville in an effort to promote equity among immunizations.
The clinics will be open to anyone 18 or older and there is no cost. Appointments are encouraged, but not required, marking the first time walk-in vaccinations have been available in Rock County. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) vaccine clinic at Blackhawk Technical College is now also offering walk-up vaccinations, Health Officer Katrina Harwood confirmed during a media briefing on Thursday.
The Walgreens clinics will take place from 10 a.m.—4 p.m. on May 2 at Beloit Head Start, 1221 Henry Ave., with a second clinic for follow-up doses on May 30. The second clinic will take place from 10 a.m.—4 p.m. on May 8 at the Rock County Jobs Center, 1900 Center Avenue, in Janesville. The second dose clinic will follow on June 5.
The Blackhawk Technical College vaccination site operates from Tuesday through Saturday at the main campus in the Town of Rock.
Insurance information and photo IDs are helpful, but not required for vaccination. No one will be turned away without it, Harwood confirmed on Thursday.
Walk-in appointments will be available while supplies last.
Harwood said the goal of the clinics is to reach underserved county residents, specifically minority individuals who may be at a greater risk of COVID-19 infection. State public health data shows that 37.2% of people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine area White; 29.5% Asian; 15.7% American Indian and 15.1% Black. In terms of an ethnicity breakdown, 18.7% of residents who have received one shot are Hispanic, DHS data shows.
Those wishing to make an appointment ahead of time can register through links available at www.RockCountyShot.com by selecting “Where Do I Go” and then selecting “Where Are The Community Clinics.”
Anyone who needs a ride to the clinics can call 211 to set up transportation to the vaccination event.
Rock County Epidemiologist Nick Zupan said the health department was monitoring what it called a “slow down” in demand for the vaccine among Rock County residents. In Rock County, 64,501 people (39.5%) have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 46,550 people (28.5%) have completed vaccination.
Virus case rates in the county have increased slightly since last week, with Zupan noting the county reported around an average of 35 new cases this week compared to 30 new cases last week. Since April 1, Rock County has seen increasing COVID-19 spread, along with the identification of three more-contagious COVID-19 variants in the county.
Zupan said the county was aware that 2.2% of residents in Rock County who received an initial shot of the COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) had missed their second appointment. Nationwide, the rate for missed second vaccinations from two-series doses is around 8 to 10%.
“We see that commonly with two-series vaccinations,” Zupan said.
Harwood urged residents to get their second vaccine, noting that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second dose to provide the most possible protection against COVID-19.
“It’s vitally important that people return for their second dose,” Harwood said.
On Thursday, Harwood also announced the county’s mask requirement would be extended to June 30.
The latest update moves masks from a requirement to a recommendation for wearing a face covering outdoors when unable to socially distance. It also adds an exemption for mask wearing indoors for people who are fully-vaccinated and gathering indoors with other fully-vaccinated individuals.
No changes have yet been made to move Rock County out of Phase 2 of its reopening plan.