RACINE – City and county officials – as well as community members – used a news conference setting at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to encourage members of the Black and Latinx communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

The message was delivered and repeated Monday: “Get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

A community-based vaccination clinic, operated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), opens Tuesday at the former Burlington Coat Factory site at Regency Mall, 5538 Durand Ave. The clinic will initially administer 200 vaccine shots per day but will have the ability to administer up to 1,000 shots per day, depending upon vaccine supply. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Make a mandatory appointment via https://vaccinate.wi.gov.

Anyone, regardless of eligibility status, should register for the community clinic. Those who register will receive an invitation to book an appointment when they are eligible.

“In speaking to the apprehensions some people might have, it’s OK to ask questions. It’s not OK to say ‘Oooh, I don’t know about this,” said John Tate II, who represents Racine’s 3rd Aldermanic District. He added that information about the COVID-19 vaccine is easily available via the City of Racine Public Health Department website (https://www.cityofracine.org/_Home/News/COVID-19-Vaccine-Info/) or by phone (844-684-1064).

Tate added that starting immediately, the City of Racine’s RYDE Transit buses are offering free rides to anyone going to or from a vaccination appointment. A bus rider simply needs to tell the driver that they are traveling for a COVID-19 vaccination.

“We are trying to reduce every single barrier we can,” he said. “Please, please, please register and get vaccinated.”

Racine County Board Member Fabi Maldonado urged the Latinx community to get the vaccine – making his remarks in Spanish.

Testimony from previously infected community members

Alder Mollie Jones, of Racine’s 2nd Aldermanic District, told the group that she was hospitalized with COVID-19 for two weeks. “It wasn’t pleasant,” she said. “I look forward to getting vaccinated as soon as I’m cleared by my doctor.”

Racine Police Chief Art Howell, who has gotten the vaccine, urged members of the public to get the vaccine. He also said that more than 200 law enforcement personnel nationwide were among the COVID-19 related deaths. “It’s a personal choice but it’s also a community issue,” he said.

Alfonso Gardner, a community activist, was even more direct.

“I’ve had the vaccine. Just give me a call. I will tell you about my experience,” he said. “I will tell you to get vaccinated so we can all get back to what we love. Also, I can’t wait to see all 17 of my brothers and sisters plus my nieces and nephews in person.”

Tate added: “I’m looking forward to Juneteenth Day!”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...