SSM Health Wisconsin, which includes Agnesian HealthCare, has reached a milestone today by administering its 100,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Since January 25, Agnesian HealthCare has given nearly 11,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 3,000 second doses to its patients 65 years and above at three different locations in Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun.
Richard Lemanski, of Fond du Lac, received his second dose of Moderna vaccine on March 4 helping to celebrate this milestone among all SSM Health Wisconsin ministries. “It was important to me to get my vaccine so I don’t get COVID, plus it’s my birthday today so it’s like a birthday present I guess.”
Since December 2020, when SSM Health received its first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the organization has steadily increased its capacity to vaccinate eligible people across the communities it serves, adding vaccination sites as soon as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services approved them. In addition, our medical clinicians are proactively calling patients who are eligible for vaccination but have not arranged for an appointment to understand if they are hesitant about the vaccine or have other barriers to making an appointment.
“At the start of the pandemic, SSM Health mobilized our workforce, developing a pool of more than 570 vaccinators and a team of more than 200, including pharmacists, cleaners, frontline schedulers and support personnel, many of whom willingly work above and beyond normal hours to ensure that we can provide vaccinations across our region,” says Mohammed (Mo) Kharbat, vice president - Pharmacy Services & Health Research for SSM Health Wisconsin Region.
With 18 clinics located across the area in the communities of: Baraboo, Fond du Lac, Janesville, Madison, Monroe, Ripon, Sun Prairie and Waupun, SSM Health has administered an average of 9,000 doses per week. As vaccine supplies become more readily available, SSM Health expects to be able to offer at least 20,000 vaccinations each week.
“We have the operational capacity to ramp up to get more shots in the arms of eager people as supplies and new vaccines become available,” Kharbat says. “We are driven by our mission to provide exceptional healthcare and we take our public health responsibilities seriously. We have an excellent team that has worked very hard to develop vaccination plans that can flex as supplies and eligible populations increase.”
That flexibility includes SSM Health’s participation in innovative mass vaccination efforts, such as one-day Saturday clinics to vaccinate more than 1,000 people each time in the Agnesian HealthCare area, as well partnerships with area school districts to hold one-day, on-site school clinics for eligible educational personnel.
“This has been such an incredible experience for everyone involved in bringing vaccine to our patients 65 years and above,” according to Kathy Luedtke, director of Clinic Services with Agnesian HealthCare. “Our teams have stepped up to support many new and innovative ways to deliver this vaccine to our patients, and we have been rewarded in return with incredible sharing of gratitude and inspirational stories. We will continue our efforts to ensure that our patients wishing to receive the vaccine will be able to do so in accordance with direction from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.”
Agnesian HealthCare is working collaboratively with county public health agencies and other health care partners on initiatives to help expedite vaccine distribution where possible. In addition, SSM Health is partnering with various community organizations to increase vaccinations among and provide information and other resources to more vulnerable populations.