Boys & Girls Clubs partner with Mayo for free vaccine clinics

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - If you’ve been looking to get your COVID vaccine in the Coulee region, a new opportunity may make it easier.

A partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse and the Mayo Clinic is leading to free neighborhood vaccine clinics beginning this Thursday.

The vaccination sites are for adults 18 years and older, with the goal to provide access to underserved areas of the city.

Dr. Paul Molling with Mayo Clinic hopes a familiar site like the Boys & Girls Clubs will ease vaccine hesitancy.

“The idea is to take those disparities that have occurred, get [vaccines] to our partners and our colleagues and our minority members in our communities that deserve it and need it,” Dr. Molling said. “Hence why we’re coming on-site to the Boys & Girls Club on the north side of La Crosse and we’ll subsequently do another one on the south side.”

“If there’s some trust in coming to a facility like the Boys & Girls Club then we’ve worked hard in gaining that trust,” Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Jake Erickson said. “We’re here to answer questions, we’re certainly not the medical professionals but we partnered with the medical professionals.”

Plans were moving along smoothly until a wrench was thrown in Tuesday morning after the CDC recommended pausing the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Mayo Clinic is following suit in La Crosse, resulting in some changes for the Boys & Girls Clubs clinics.

“Obviously our intent was to bring Johnson & Johnson here just for the fact it was a one-time shot,” Dr. Molling detailed. “Now we’re just going to move over to using most likely Pfizer come this Thursday.”

Despite the setback with Johnson & Johnson the clinics will run each Thursday through May 6th.

Erickson hopes that the nonprofit as well as the rest of the city will be able to return to normal in a few months.

“I hope by the summer, especially as we can utilize all of our outdoor spaces, we’re close to 100 percent capacity,” Erickson said. “But we won’t do that until all of our partners feel comfortable with that.”

The sites will be at the Erickson and Mathy Boys & Girls Clubs starting on Thursday.

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