Shopping for Answers: News 8 Now heads to the mall to answer your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- As more people become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, more people have questions about it. News 8 Now headed to the mall with a Mayo Clinic expert to get some answers.

In a place to pick up deals, Dr. Erin Morcomb is giving away something of even greater value. “Want to aske me a question about the COVID vaccine?”, asks the M.D. while holding a sign with the same question.  The Mayo Clinic Health System physician set up shop inside Valley View Mall to answer your questions about the COVI-19 vaccine.  “My question is, how is the rollout going to do with older people?”, asks one man. Most everyone who approached Dr. Morcomb wanted to know when they can get one.  “We have it here in La Crosse for the healthcare workers. We’re hoping to roll out phase 1B to people 75 and older and people with medical problems in the near future.”, answers Morcomb.

Dr. Morcomb is hopeful a majority of the people will be vaccinated by the end of 2021.  Both La Crosse hospitals have doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Morcomb says rural communities will likely get the Moderna shot because it doesn’t require extreme cold storage. One shopper asked “Are they all the same?” Dr. Morcomb says yes. “It doesn’t really matter which one you get. Both the Pizer and Moderna are two doses about a month apart and they are about 95% effective for both of them.  

 The vaccine is approved for adults. Research on kids will get under way soon.  Which means a mom of three didn’t get the answer she wanted when she asked how long we will need to wear masks.  Dr, Morcomb couldn’t says exactly how long, but it will be a while. “Once we get a significant amount of the community vaccinated against it and we have the antibodies, that’s when we can move away from the masks. Which would be excellent, right! Until then, we have to stay masked so we don’t pass it on.”

As of Tuesday, The Wisconsin Department of Heath reported more than 373,000 vaccine doses have been shipped to local hospitals and health care facilities, but less than half have been given to patients. News 8 Now’s Amy DuPont asked, “What’s the hold up?” Dr. Morcomb says the process is decided by the CDC and the state. “Because we’ve only been in phase 1A; which is healthcare workers, EMS, and long term care facilities. Once we have the okay to go into other phases it’s likely to go quickly.” 

Speed is key to stopping the spread of the virus, and for the pandemic weary public ready pick to up deals- and nothing else. 

If you have questions about the COVID-19 virus or the vaccine, you can find more information on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.