Alliant Energy Center sees boost in activity on FEMA’s first day in Madison, PHMDC says

MADISON, Wis.– Speed may be the only difference you notice, but the federal government’s help already feels much broader to Public Health Madison and Dane County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Deputy Tess Ellens on their first day in Madison.

“I don’t think anybody has waited more than an hour today,” Ellens said. “We have this surge in staff that just increases our capacity for giving vaccines, which is what we’ve been wanting to do for a really long time.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent 26 people to work at the Alliant Energy Center, filling in tasks that help the vaccination site run efficiently.

“Everyone from our traffic staff, our vaccinating staff, drawing up vaccine, to data entry,” Ellens said. “So, really helping out in all aspects here.”

Ellens said FEMA’s help allows for three more lanes to open and thousands more people to get shots each week.

“Usually, at Alliant Energy Center, at maximum capacity of eight lanes is about 5,600 doses a week. With the addition of FEMA, we can get up to 7,700 doses,” Ellens said. “It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when it adds up, it becomes a huge number over time.”

More doses means more appointments, and they’re already open. The only restriction is you must live or work in Dane County.

“We send out appointments week to week. So, we’ve been collecting names that have been either newly eligible or previously eligible to get them in as fast as possible here,” Ellens said.

FEMA’s help is only guaranteed for the the next 30 days, but Ellens said it’s possible they’ll stick around if needed.

“The National Guard is helping out FEMA to make sure that we can have the staffing for a little bit more sustained of a time that we initially thought,” Ellens said. “We’re really excited about that.”

To sign up for an appointment at the Alliant Energy Center, people need to register with Wisconsin DHS’s COVID-19 Vaccine Registry. Then, they will receive an invitation to schedule a shot.