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Mayo doctor says COVID shots going quickly in area

Brad Williams

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Mayo Clinic’s could distribute 50,000 COVID-19 vaccinations a week.

That, according to Dr. Abinash Virk, an infection specialist at Mayo in Rochester, Minn.

“If we had a lot of vaccine, and we have capacity to vaccinate,” Virk said. “We can ramp up capacity to up to 50,000 vaccine appointments a week. If we had a lot of vaccine, we would open it up rapidly to anyone over 65.”

The clinic has given more than 30,000 so far in the region.

Virk said that you shouldn’t worry about how quickly vaccines are being developed. Just as smartphones are a technical advance over dial phones, coming up with vaccines more rapidly is a sign of improved technology.

Virk added that, in Minnesota, the priority goes to patients over 80 years old. Wisconsin patients of Mayo can get the vaccine first if they’re over 65.

Meanwhile, mask mandates aimed at controlling COVID-19 are still in dispute in Wisconsin, but many doctors recommend continuing to wear masks for now, even if you get the COVID vaccine.

“Yes, you still need to do that, because the vaccine can protect you against severe disease, but we don’t know if yet it protects you from picking up the virus and transmitting it to somebody else,” Virk said.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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