EXCLUSIVE: E-mails show frustration with lack of vaccines in Franklin, elsewhere in Milw. County

This has been a busy and infuriating week for Franklin Mayor Steve Olson as tries to secure Franklin’s share of COVID vaccines for his constituents.

Olson is frustrated and rightfully so at the lack of action and communication on the issue by whom he refers to as “the state.”  I call the culprits Gov. Tony Evers and the WI Dept. of Heath Services (DHS) that Evers administrates.

On Sunday Olson posted on Facebook:

If you’re scheduled for a second dose we’re told that the State is automatically shipping those doses from a different stock. I believe that you will get your second dose as scheduled.

This is a very important announcement from the Franklin Health Department. We have been allocated no vaccines this week so NEW Clinics cannot be held until we get more vaccine. If you have an appointment with the Franklin Health Department for the next two weeks please keep it.

We have enough vaccine for the next two weeks but no more. I believe that this is political.

We believe that only three communities were singled out to NOT get vaccine. In what world do you not send a LOT of vaccine to your most populous county. If the concern is equity, it’s also the county with the most minority population. Call Rep. Skowronski, call Rep. Rodriguez, call Rep. Wichgers, call Sen. Bradley, call Sen. Larson. To say that DHS’s handling of the pandemic and vaccine rollout has been a joke is kind.

TMJ4
picked up on the story on Monday and interviewed Olson.

“This is ridiculous. Our health department’s phones are ringing off the hook and they can’t tell people when we’re going to have vaccines. It’s the lack of information from the state that is just handcuffing everybody and making this whole thing a joke,” said Olson.

Olson is not alone in his outrage and has reached out to concerned elected officials I filed an open records request and the mayor and city clerk forwarded to me 31 e-mails on this matter .  Please follow along for some of the developments.

MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2021

Olson wrote:

Dear Franklin State Representatives:

As a state we’re not effective at the roll-out of this vaccine and getting it in the arms of our constituents.

There are three big issues from my point of view:

  • The state DHS appears to be managing the distribution of the vaccines as though it’s a routine flu vaccine.  There’s no sense of urgency based on the additional requirements added on by DHS to the CDC requirements
  • DHS is about 6 months late in the planning of the distribution and have been effective in NOT communicating with the local health officers.  How can it be that the hierarchy of delivery isn’t already finished?  Instead, the second group of patients isn’t yet identified and when it is decided it still needs to have a weeks worth of public comment.  This is a pandemic!  Are you aware that the group putting together the hierarchy didn’t feel that paramedics should be vaccinated in the first wave?  What kind of logic doesn’t cover the medical professionals that touch the sickest FIRST to be first in line to be vaccinated?
  • There is no financial support for local health departments to hire the appropriate number of qualified vaccinators to be effective once supplies catch up.

My sister lives in East Lansing, Mi.  The grocery stores in her county are vaccinators and are vaccinating NOW.

Here’s a friend of mine’s vaccination certificate.  He’s 67.  Excellent health.  Lives in his own home.  He got vaccinated today on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

Why is Wisconsin one of the last to get their act together?

Respectfully frustrated,

Mayor Steve Olson

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2021

Olson wrote to his health director:

From:
Steve Olson <steve-olson@wi.rr.com>
Sent: Thursday, February 4, 2021 8:57 AM
To: Courtney Day <CDay@franklinwi.gov>
Subject: More reading

Get all our vaccine resources for mayors | Bloomberg Cities (jhu.edu)

Courtney

I’m concerned about:

  • Quantity of vaccines available – This is something that has no real answer. We place our order on Tuesdays and are at the mercy of some unexplained algorithm that determines what we actually receive the following week. I was able to get ahead a bit with ordering (I’m about two weeks ahead in my supply right now) – but don’t know how long that will last as we keep increasing clinic sizes.
  • Effectiveness of our scheduling system – We are using the same system as many other Health Departments across the state – Signup Genius. This can be auto populated to our electronic medical record which allows us to print consent forms and have vaccines administered automatically entered in the WI Immunization Registry. The State’s system rolling out in a few weeks is much the same – online registration, but through a Microsoft based platform.
  • Confusion about where to get vaccinated (primary provider, us, Meijer, drug stores) – Again no real answer. Every entity seems to have their own process. Almost exclusively online though. I do know that for hospital systems the sign-up or the information is available on the individual’s electronic record (i.e. My Chart) not through their doctor or on the hospital system website. Also some entities have chosen their own path with regard to who they are vaccinating which makes life harder when someone is not following the DHS guidelines.
  • Confusion between Vac sites and testing sites – We’ve tried to keep the testing site information up to date on the City website. There are two external websites – www.healthymke.com or www.testupmke.com that would also help to clarify the appropriate site for people’s needs. These links are also on our City website.  Although in Franklin we’re now only averaging about 450 tests per week now. Testing does not seem to be a priority anymore at this time.  Having the testing site on 76th and Rawson is a great resource however.
  • Communicating availability – Right now our priority is seniors. We sent calls out this week to the 1200 phone numbers we had collected about the process for clinic sign up at this time. New clinics will get added to the website for scheduling each Monday once we know how much vaccine is coming in. We have 20-30 slots at each clinic held aside for those seniors that truly cannot access the internet to schedule or those stragglers from the 1A group that haven’t gotten vaccine yet.  At this time I will not schedule clinics past our vaccine allotment amount, while I know people are angry at the limited amount of vaccine available I feel they will become more frustrated if we over book and then have to cancel because there isn’t vaccine.
  • Labor to pull off mass clinics – right now we have a very robust list of clinical and non-clinical volunteers, our staff, as well as student nurses from Bryant and Stratton. I have also put an inquiry out to the company we are using for contact tracing to see if we can repurpose some of those staff now that our case numbers are dipping and the possibility of hiring additional temp staff from them with experience to give vaccine. For mass clinics – it will be a joint effort with our zone and staffing will be split with the resources from all four health departments (Greenfield, Greendale, Hales Corner, Franklin).
  • Follow up on second doses – All second doses are automatically scheduled at the time first doses are scheduled. Individuals are given that information when they schedule. We are now also giving them reminders when they show up for their first dose of the date and time of their second dose. We’ve been lucky so far that the State is following through on their promise to send second doses automatically when they are coming due.
  • Getting to seniors without access to the internet
    • In congregate living can we get building managers to help – Carol did call most of our senior living facilities some seemed willing to assist seniors get signed up, others were not or said they had no capacity for this. Unlike flu at this time we’re not planning to travel to apartment sites unless we can get assistance in the scheduling and assurance that individuals scheduled will show up as we need to get those 10 doses per bottle in as fast as possible once the vial is tapped.
    • Find a couple of savy seniors and loan them a laptop for a day as schedulers – We did think about asking some of our more savvy volunteers if they’d be willing to spend some time at these facilities to help people get signed up.
  • Storage capability for the Moderna if the supply gets fixed – We purchased a bigger freezer that will not have any issues storing large quantities of vaccine. In fact once the mass clinic at the Sports Complex gets up and running we will be the storage hub for our Zone’s vaccine because we will have the most storage capacity.

What help do you need? – I’d love it if local public health stopped being the scape goat for all things wrong with the roll out of vaccine. The State’s plan is poorly designed, the federal program with the pharmacies is weeks and weeks behind, there is no indication of where all the vaccine is in the county or any transparency from vaccine providers on how and who they are vaccinating.  But most importantly, without vaccine on hand – there really isn’t anything we can do to improve the situation. The County sent a proposal to the State requesting State Fair Park being redesigned to be a mass vaccination clinic site now that the ACF is being taken down. We requested aid from the State to assist with staffing and funds to operate. Have no idea where that is in the process, but if we can that moved forward that could potentially start pulling many people through – again provided vaccine is available.

Steve Olson
Mayor
City of Franklin
9229 W. Loomis Rd.
Franklin, Wi.  53132

From: Steve Olson <steve-olson@wi.rr.com>
Sent: Thursday, February 4, 2021 9:59 AM
To: Courtney Day <CDay@franklinwi.gov>
Subject: RE: More reading

Your last paragraph….

I’m sorry that you feel like the scape goat.  I hope and work toward that not being the case here in Franklin.  You’ve seen my comments in the newspapers and on social media.  I have no problem putting blame where it belongs.

The scheduling is the issue that I hear of locally.  It will get better.  I think the biggest problem is our inability to plan and be public about availability.  What’s pissing people off is…  NO TIMES AVAILABLE.  We need to publicize the fact that we get a limited number of doses on every public facing opportunity we have.

You can have the middle section of the home page if you want it.

S.

From: Courtney Day [mailto:CDay@franklinwi.gov]
Sent: Thursday, February 4, 2021 11:19 AM
To: Steve Olson
Subject: RE: More reading

It’s more all of us (Health Officers/Health Departments) getting the brunt of the angst from our communities because the State and hospital systems continue to not answer questions and refer all to us for answers and vaccine. Two things we just don’t have. Bumbled from the State all the way through for sure and they take no responsibility for the mess we’re in. I do thank you for your support and the support of our elected officials.

I am working on a communication to go to our senior apartments, I’ll also get copies to our senior dining folks to add into the lunches and use other communication methods to try to further explain where we are with vaccine distribution. Hopefully this will help to clear some confusion/frustration for this group. They are my first priority right now to get through our clinics as quickly as possible.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2021

From: Courtney Day
Sent: Saturday, February 6, 2021 8:53 PM
To: Benton, Anna C – DHS <anna.benton@dhs.wisconsin.gov>; Schmidt, Melanie K – DHS <melanie.schmidt@dhs.wisconsin.gov>; Sullivan, Ruth R – DHS <Ruth.Sullivan@dhs.wisconsin.gov>
Cc: DHS COVID VACCINATOR <DHSCOVIDVACCINATOR@dhs.wisconsin.gov>
Subject: Vaccine Allotment

Good evening,

I have not received notification on receiving COVID-19 vaccine this week. I’m assuming no news is bad news.  A lack of vaccine this week is troubling on many levels.

  • We have enough vaccine on hand for the four clinics we have scheduled (two first dose and two second dose) and our community looks to new clinics added each Monday which will not happen this week.
    • At this rate  we will be no where close to finishing our eligible populations while the State continues to push forward with a ridiculous March 1 date to add hundreds of thousands more individuals into the eligible category.
  • DHS, healthcare providers, and the media constantly refer individuals to their local health departments to get vaccinated. We cannot do this if we do not have vaccine on hand. Nor can we stand up mass clinics when we have no confidence we will receive any vaccine.
  • At least 3 local health departments in Milwaukee county (the most populous county in the state) are receiving 0 doses this week. If the vaccine allotment is static for the last few weeks… where was the vaccine allocated this week sent? Are those vaccine providers in Milwaukee County?  And how are they ensuring the eligible populations get vaccine?
  • As the “Assurance Role” in our community we deserve to know where the vaccine is so we can refer individuals to those entities for scheduling if we cannot assist them directly.
  • Our credibility as local health departments continues to be ruined by lack of communication from DHS on COVID vaccine supply
  • Finally, those entities not receiving vaccine at least deserve the courtesy of an email or phone call to inform them of that status.

Courtney Day, RN, BSN
Director of Health and Human Services/Health Officer
Franklin Health Department
cday@franklinwi.gov
414-425-9101

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2021

From: DHS COVID VACCINATOR <DHSCOVIDVACCINATOR@dhs.wisconsin.gov>
Sent: Sunday, February 7, 2021 6:06 AM
To: Courtney Day <CDay@franklinwi.gov>; Lori Czajkowski <LCzajkowski@franklinwi.gov>
Subject: No Allocation Notification

Dear Courtney Day,

This e-mail is to notify you that your organization was not allocated COVID-19 from last week’s Provider Allocation Survey, therefore your organization will not be receiving vaccine this week.

Each week, the allocation team compiles information from the Provider Allocation Survey into an allocation model using the General Algebraic Modeling System. The model, which is built using expert federal and state guidance, determines the allocation to providers based on how much vaccine the state has been awarded from the CDC for any given week. The model’s formula incorporates multiple considerations including the SDMAC’s recommendations, the number of doses requested by each organization and priority to vaccinators in communities characterized by higher levels of social vulnerability according to the geographic-level Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) data,

Although the number of enrolled providers continues to increase, Wisconsin’s allocation from the CDC has not increased over the past several weeks.  Therefore, we do not have enough vaccine supply to meet the order requests from all providers. We understand that providers who did not receive vaccine, or received an amount lower than ordered are frustrated. We regret we cannot fulfill your request, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to try to meet the demands to vaccinate Wisconsin as quickly as possible.

Sincere thanks,

The Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program Team

dhscovidvaccinator@wi.gov

From: Courtney Day [mailto:CDay@franklinwi.gov]
Sent: Sunday, February 7, 2021 12:09 PM
To: Steve Olson
Subject: FW: No Allocation Notification

Good afternoon,

Franklin along with at least two other local health departments (Oak Creek and Wauwatosa) in Milwaukee County will be receiving 0 vaccine this week. All others except Milwaukee seem to have gotten no more than 100 regardless of their request. The below email is what I received this morning from the State. It is unconscionable to me how this is their process. I will send another email momentarily that I sent to my contacts at DHS yesterday – received no response from the individuals I emailed only the automated response below.  All the questions I have remain unanswered and at this point am contemplating more bold action since the State will not respond to me directly, is it possible to get an audience with Mr. Bradley so I can voice my frustrations with the process.  At this time I think it is imperative that the legislators take over the process of vaccine distribution as it is clear the DHS model is no longer working in the best interest of the majority in Milwaukee County.

Also the JS article today (https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2021/02/05/milwaukee-vaccine-appointments-phone-numbers-hotlines-emails/4399254001/) doesn’t assist when they list all the contacts for local health departments to get people access to vaccine and we have none. I have at least 15 emails from this article and probably at least that many phone messages waiting for us.

Later today I will be posting on social media we received 0 vaccine and cannot add clinics this week. I will direct individuals to continue to check other avenues for vaccine appointments and also post the contact information for the State for them to voice their frustration with the process. At this point we have exactly enough vaccine for the four clinics we have scheduled (second doses on Feb 9 and 16; first doses on Feb 10 and 17).

At this point I am at a complete loss on any ability I have to try to rectify the situation or get more information on where vaccine is headed or being stored. Hopefully if I can make some noise on the legislative side maybe that will make a difference.

Courtney

From:
Steve Olson 
Sent: Sunday, February 7, 2021 3:01 PM
To: Sen.Bradley <Sen.Bradley@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Rep.Skowronski <Rep.Skowronski@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Rep.Wichgers <Rep.Wichgers@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Rep.Rodriguez <Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Sen.Larson <Sen.Larson@legis.wisconsin.gov>
Cc: Mayor Neitzke <MayorNeitzke@GreenfieldWI.US>; Dan Bukiewicz <dbukiewicz@oakcreekwi.org>; Daniel Besson <dbesson@halescorners.org>; Jim Birmingham <jbirmingham@greendale.org>; Todd Michaels <tmichaels@greendale.org>; ‘Courtney Day’ <CDay@franklinwi.gov>
Subject: FW: No Allocation Notification

Legislators:

A few weeks ago I sent most of you an e-mail regarding the fiasco that is the State Department of Health Services and their handling of the vaccine (specifically).

I received NO response from those of you that I sent it to.

As representatives of the more than 36,000 residents of the City of Franklin plus the other surrounding communities I hoped that on behalf of those citizens, that you would at least respond. 

What is the legislature’s plan to fix this problem of complete incompetence at DHS?

Please respond.

Mayor Steve Olson

From: Courtney Day [mailto:CDay@franklinwi.gov]
Sent: Sunday, February 7, 2021 12:10 PM
To: Steve Olson
Subject: FW: Vaccine Allotment

This is the email I sent to DHS representatives last night. No response. I do not believe Oak Creek received a response from their email either.

Very disappointing and frustrating. These questions deserve answers.

Courtney

From: Steve Olson <steve-olson@wi.rr.com>
Sent: Sunday, February 7, 2021 3:17 PM
To: Farnsworth, Brandon <Brandon.Farnsworth@mail.house.gov>
Cc: ‘Courtney Day’ <CDay@franklinwi.gov>
Subject: FW: Vaccine Allotment
Importance: High

Brandon:

I hope you’re doing well.

When Rep. Steil was in town two weeks ago we spoke over lunch about what a fiasco the vaccine roll-out has been.

Putting the State of Wisconsin in charge has been a disaster.

I agree that the State may not be getting the vaccines they ask for and perhaps Rep. Steil can look into that, but frankly I believe that even if the State got all they ask for that they’d end up everywhere but the most populous County and cities in the state.

I didn’t get the Rep’s email or phone so…

I rely on you to ask him to please start putting pressure on the Feds AND the state.

See below.

Thanks.

Steve

Steve Olson
Mayor
City of Franklin

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2021

From: Courtney Day [mailto:CDay@franklinwi.gov]
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2021 8:58 AM
To: Steve Olson
Subject: RE: Vaccine Allotment

I did send the Alders and Peggy an email yesterday afternoon explaining our situation. I know that both Ald. Hanneman and Wilhelm have been fielding questions and posting on social media on our behalf.

The stats for Aurora are most likely statewide. I’m not sure where the individual is getting that info unless it was released by Aurora at some point to the media. I know Froedtert released their numbers as well at some point last week. Even though hospital systems are assisting, it is still proving challenging for our seniors to navigate their online systems or to understand when or how they will be contacted for an appointment. Also many seniors have doctors that are not affiliated with the hospital systems so they truly cannot access these sites for vaccine.

In general we have no idea how much vaccine is going to the hospital systems, we’ve been told the release of this information is at the Governor’s level not with the staff at DHS we are privy to.

Courtney

From: Farnsworth, Brandon [mailto:Brandon.Farnsworth@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2021 10:48 AM
To: Steve Olson
Cc: ‘Courtney Day’
Subject: RE: Vaccine Allotment

Mayor Olson,

Thank you for reaching out.  More than happy to get this to Bryan and make sure that he knows that you are interested in seeing him put more pressure on both the State and Feds. 

As always, feel free to reach out to me directly with anything that you think Bryan and our office should know about.  We are an open door and highly appreciate feedback and constant communication with the local municipalities within WI01.

Respectfully,

Brandon Farnsworth

Brandon Farnsworth
Director of District Operations (WI-01)
Congressman Bryan Steil
20 South Main Street, Suite 10
Janesville, Wisconsin 53545
608-752-4050

From: Fuller, Lucas [mailto:Lucas.Fuller@legis.wisconsin.gov]
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2021 10:06 AM
To: Hoyer-Booth, Andrew G – DHS; Waukau, Hilary J – DHS (HJ)
Cc: steve-olson@wi.rr.com; Rep.Skowronski; Sen.Bradley
Subject: Vaccine Distribution

Hi Andrew and HJ,

We’ve been contacted by local officials who are struggling with the lack of doses they will receive this week.  Specifically, in the case of the City of Franklin, they have indicated they will receive zero doses of the vaccine this week, significantly hampering their ability to schedule any future vaccination clinics and threatening their ability to complete the four clinics they already have on the calendar.

I’ve cc’ed the Mayor of Franklin as well as Rep. Skowronski and my boss.  We are hoping one of you, or someone else on the team at DHS, might be able to provide some transparency or explanation how this happened and what our communities can reasonably expect from DHS moving forward.

Thank you.

Lucas Fuller
Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Julian Bradley
(608) 266-5400

From: Sen.Bradley <Sen.Bradley@legis.wisconsin.gov>
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2021 10:37 AM
To: Steve Olson <steve-olson@wi.rr.com>; Sen.Bradley <Sen.Bradley@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Rep.Skowronski <Rep.Skowronski@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Rep.Wichgers <Rep.Wichgers@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Rep.Rodriguez <Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wisconsin.gov>; Sen.Larson <Sen.Larson@legis.wisconsin.gov>
Cc: Mayor Neitzke <MayorNeitzke@GreenfieldWI.US>; Dan Bukiewicz <dbukiewicz@oakcreekwi.org>; Daniel Besson <dbesson@halescorners.org>; Jim Birmingham <jbirmingham@greendale.org>; Todd Michaels <tmichaels@greendale.org>; ‘Courtney Day’ <CDay@franklinwi.gov>; Fuller, Lucas <Lucas.Fuller@legis.wisconsin.gov>
Subject: RE: No Allocation Notification

Hi Steve,

I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you last week when we discussed this and your regional plan for vaccine distribution.  We are in agreement that what is happening at DHS is unacceptable.  We are monitoring this situation and exploring our options to hold DHS accountable.

As you know, my staff reached out to DHS directly to ask about this earlier today and you were included on the email.  I hope DHS can do better in the future or a the very least, deal with interested stakeholders like the City of Franklin more transparently so you can be better positioned to help vaccinate our communities.

My hope is that DHS would include you on any response to my office, but if they don’t I will certainly reach out to you directly to share their response and discuss the next steps.

As always, feel free to continue contacting my office if we may be of assistance.  In this case, since Governor Evers oversees DHS directly, I would also encourage you to contact his office to share your concerns about the distribution process.

Thank you.

Julian

From: Mayor Neitzke [mailto:MayorNeitzke@GreenfieldWI.US]
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2021 9:56 PM
To: Steve Olson
Cc: Ament, Dave; Andrew Vickers; brooks@smwi.org; Bryan Kennedy; Catherine Roeske; Charlene Klein; Dan Besson; Dan Bukiewicz; Dan Devine; Dennis McBride; Douglas H. Frazer; Eido Walny; jarchambo@wauwatosa.net; Jim Birmingham; John Stalewski; Ken.Tutaj@stfranwi.org; Knutson, Alec; Mark.Johnsrud@stfranwi.org; mayor@ci.mequon.wi.us; mhall@browndeerwi.org; President Siegel; presidentrozek@villageofshorewood.org; Rick Petfalski; skulik@halescorners.org; sbotcher@villageoffoxpoint.com; sreilly@ci.waukesha.wi.us; steveander@gmail.com; ponto@ci.brookfield.wi.us; Tami Mayzik; Thomas Pavlic; tlaborde@vil.river-hills.wi.us; Wanda Montgomery; Courtney Day; Darren Rausch

Subject: Re: In case you haven’t seen this

“More doses”?

Following up on our ICC discussion today, it certainly seems necessary to provide some semblance of transparency as to how many doses are available and where those doses are actually going.  It’s beyond obvious that there is a significantly deficient supply to feed the delivery infrastructure that already exists.

Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t it be a more prudent and efficient strategy to satisfy the local health departments’ requests at a level consistent with their existing infrastructure to administer those doses before creating more infrastructure/sites (that will be provided with a supply well short of what they have the capacity to administer).

I know Greenfield is allocated just a small fraction of what we could “get out the door”-about a 100 doses a week.   We could do 600-800 a week.

Meijer also administers the vaccine here.  We’ve learned that they get about the same. There may be other providers that we’re not even aware of.  The large healthcare systems are also administering. I’ve heard their doses are limited, as well. I’ve  talked to residents that have signed up on multiple lists across the entire delivery spectrum.  This isn’t efficient.

Wouldn’t it make sense to get the limited quantities to local health as a primary conduit at least for now, and build the Meijer, Walmart, CVS, Rock County-like stuff, etc network as the secondary overflow (and possibly primary source) once sufficient doses are available?

Just sayin’

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 8, 2021, at 8:42 PM, Steve Olson <steve-olson@wi.rr.com> wrote:

?

Gov. Evers announces new vaccine sites as doses increase (tmj4.com)<https://www.tmj4.com/news/coronavirus/gov-evers-announces-new-vac

cine-sites-as-doses-increase?fbclid=IwAR1fjT4Xn05gJ_5F0HzXa7axjbFa-YPJvhYZ_y

fxsAynFYRsJ7bbHld7Pvs>

Steve Olson
Mayor
City of Franklin
9229 W. Loomis Rd.
Franklin, Wi.  53132

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2021


State Senator Julian Bradley (R-Franklin) and others wrote a letter:

February 9, 2021

Via Email and Mail

Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake
Department of Health Services
1 West Wilson Street
Madison, WI 53703

Secretary-designee Timberlake,

As you begin your work at the Department of Health Services, we are writing to ask you to
communicate more transparently and proactively with the public, local officials and the state legislature than your predecessor. We fully understand that COVID-19 presents unique challenges to the Department of Health Services, but the work of our partners at the local level has been complicated unnecessarily by the lack of transparency and poor communication from DHS.

We have been contacted by numerous local officials throughout our districts who are very concerned about the distributions of vaccine from the state of Wisconsin. They have repeatedly learned about distribution plans and other key developments through media accounts. This leaves local officials poorly positioned to help share information and address challenges.

Specifically, several communities in Milwaukee County will receive no vaccinations this week. This will significantly hamper their ability to schedule any future vaccination clinics and threatens their ability to complete the clinics they have already scheduled in their area.

We have copied these local leaders and Governor Evers on this letter by email and hope to work with you to ensure the efficient and transparent distribution of vaccines to our local partners.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance ensuring effective and clear communication with local leaders.

Thank you.

Senator Julian Bradley
Representative Chuck Wichgers
Representative Ken Skowronski
Representative Mike Kuglitsch

From: Janis, Nick [mailto:Nick.Janis@legis.wisconsin.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 1:20 PM
To: steve-olson@wi.rr.com
Subject: RE: No Allocation Notification

Hi Mayor,

Our office received word through DHS that Franklin will be getting vaccines this week. I don’t have an exact number of doses, but DHS is aware that communication needs to be better; they should be reaching out to the city.

Please let me know the outcome of the contact with DHS. We can always go back to the department to continue to advocate for our neighbors.

In service,

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Nicholas A. Janis

Office of Senator Chris Larson
Room 20 South, State Capitol
Office: 608.266.7505
District: 414.368.0135
Preferred Pronouns: He, Him, His

From: Steve Olson
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 4:21 PM
To: ‘Janis, Nick’
Subject: RE: No Allocation Notification

Thanks Nick!

Our health officer received two calls.  First saying that they mis read her application and didn’t know she was with a health department.  The second call was an excuse that they changed the algorithm and it impacted some and they’re going to change it back.

Incompetence.

Steve

From: Rep.Rodriguez [mailto:Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wisconsin.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 2:29 PM
To: steve-olson@wi.rr.com
Subject: RE: No Allocation Notification

Mayor Olson,

To my knowledge, my office did not receive the previous email from you regarding the vaccine rollout.

I would echo Sen. Bradley’s sentiments regarding the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine rollout. The rollout has been disappointing and the Legislature has been looking for ways to improve it. However, the vaccine distribution plan is being developed by the executive branch. Legislators made a proposal in December that would have established legislative oversight of the vaccine distribution plan. Gov. Evers rejected our offer to provide input on the plan, and the responsibility of developing a vaccine distribution plan continues to lie with the executive branch.

Despite his refusal to work with us, improving the vaccine rollout remains a priority, which is why the Assembly passed a bill recently that would help Wisconsin with the vaccine rollout and give preference to those over 60 years old to get the vaccine. It is my hope that once this bill makes it to the governor’s desk he will sign it into law.

I understand Sen. Bradley’s office will be liaising between you and the Department of Health Services. Please let me know if my office can provide additional assistance with this.

Best Regards,

Jessie Rodriguez
State Representative
21st Assembly District

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