Milwaukee County Among the First in the Nation to Use ZIP Codes to Target COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Vulnerable Populations
Outreach effort aimed at increasing equity in access to the vaccine
Milwaukee County is using ZIP codes to target the most vulnerable populations to increase equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Starting today, individuals ages 65 and older who live in the 53204 and 53206 ZIP codes are encouraged to register to be vaccinated at the Kosciuszko Community Center, located at 2201 S. 7th St., Milwaukee. Residents can visit CovidMKE.com for more information on eligibility, to fill out a consent form and be approved to schedule an appointment. Additional ZIP codes will be added to this outreach as more vaccine becomes available.
Milwaukee County’s Office of Emergency Management is using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index to identify Milwaukee’s most vulnerable ZIP codes.
During a public health emergency, socially vulnerable populations are especially at risk because of factors like socioeconomic status, household composition, minority status, or housing type and transportation. Using data to identify these populations helps public health officials and emergency response planners meet the needs of their community in emergency response and recovery efforts. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Milwaukee County has continuously emphasized transparency with relation to race and ethnicity. Milwaukee County was one of the first in the nation to put race and ethnicity data on its COVID-19 dashboard.
This outreach is the latest effort by Milwaukee County to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The County is currently vaccinating its state-eligible employees and contractors, emergency medical services personnel, law enforcement, consumers of County health and human services, vulnerable service users and those 65 and older.
“Even with our early focus on racial disparities, structural racism is still producing unequal outcomes for our residents. Systemic racism affects every aspect of our lives and the disadvantages it creates for residents of color are compounded in times of crisis such as this,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Using ZIP code data to inform our approach in administering vaccinations to our most vulnerable populations is just one of the many ways we are removing barriers to access. These efforts will ultimately help us achieve our vision of being the healthiest county in Wisconsin by achieving racial equity.”
“We are leveraging the data available locally to help bridge the gap in the racial disparities that currently exist in vaccine distribution nationally,” said Cassandra Libal, Director of the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management “This is just the beginning. We will work on expanding access throughout the County hoping to reach as many people as possible.”
“By taking a data-driven approach to reaching individuals who are most at risk, Milwaukee County is helping to close the equity gap in vaccine distribution,” said Dr. Benjamin Weston, Medical Director for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management. “Our hope is that as more vaccine doses become available, we’ll be able to reach every ZIP code in Milwaukee County.”
The Kosciuszko Community Center is not open for walk-ins. Appointments are required. To find out if you are eligible, please visit CovidMKE.com for more information.