Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers appeared for a press conference at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Withee on Monday, August 23. Nazareth pastor Elizabeth Bier was recognized by the governor and DHS …
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers appeared for a press conference at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Withee on Monday, August 23. Nazareth pastor Elizabeth Bier was recognized by the governor and DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake for her efforts in informing the community of the dire need for vaccinations in a county where only 29% of the population has been vaccinated.
Governor Evers made a statement to the audience in the fellowship hall of Nazareth Lutheran Church and was followed by remarks from Secretary-Designee Timberlake. The governor and secretary-designee were warmly greeted by Pastor Bier as they entered the church. Not only were the Owen-Withee area newspapers represented but they were joined by the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and Channels 9 and 13 television
Addressing the assembled audience, Gov. Evers stated: “Thank you to Nazareth Lutheran Church and Pastor Elizabeth Bier for hosting us today. For the past 18 months, the coronavirus pandemic has challenged our communities and state in more ways than we could ever imagine. At times, things were looking pretty grim. Case number were skyrocketing and our loved ones and family members were getting sick. Our hospitals were filling up and there was no
vaccine on the horizon.
“The good news is that the vaccine arrived and not a minute too soon. Now,
it has been eight months since we got those first COVID-19 shots into the arms
of Wisconsinites and, as of today, we have gone beyond six million doses and we now have more than 50% of Wisconsinites that have been fully vaccinated
against COVID-19. That's about three million of our friends and neighbors,
co-workers and family members who have been rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated in order to protect not only their families and friends but also to help protect their fellow Wisconsinites at work, at school, at the grocery store—you name it.
“But I can’t stress this enough, folks, that this pandemic is not over and the delta variant is no joke. It is highly infectious and is spreading more quickly than any other strain of the virus. We are no longer in a fight against COVID-19, this is now a fight against the delta variant and all the other variants that might follow. Frankly, while 50% is much better than where we started, it is not where we want to be. Here in Clark County, that becomes even more dire with less
See PRESS CONFERENCE, page 6
Governor Evers holds a press conference in Nazareth Lutheran Church in Withee. Pastor Elizabeth Bier stands behind. Photo by Travis Rogers, Jr. PRESS CONFERENCE
FROM PAGE 3 than 29% of the population fully vaccinated. So,
this morning, I was excited to announce that we are launching a new COVID-19 vaccine reward
program. "From now through Labor Day, if you are a Wisconsin resident, when you get your first COVID-19 shot here in the state, you get a
hundred bucks. It's that simple. Get vaccinated, get a hundred bucks. The vaccine is obviously
safe and effective and getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your community
from COVID-19 and the delta variant. Even if
you have had COVID-19 before, you should get
vaccinated. With the COVID-19 vaccine reward
program, you not only protect your communities and save lives but you also get a $100 VISA
gift card to spend however you want to spend it. "Now, we know that, for some folks, getting vaccinated is easier said than done. Whether it is finding a ride to the clinic or getting a babysitter or taking time off from work, there are hurdles that some folks are struggling with the get vac – cinated. This $100 will, hopefully, provide some additional support for those folks who need it, so that they are able to access the vaccine also and help themselves, their families, and their neighbors. Wisconsinites can also call 2-1-1 to get connected with assistance, including finding transportation to a vaccine appointment. "It is time, folks. I am calling on all eligi ble Wisconsinites who have not gotten their
COVID-19 vaccine yet to step up, roll up your sleeve, get a shot, and do your part to help Wis-
consin put an end to COVID-19. And to all those folks out there who have already got your
shot, on behalf of the people of Wisconsin, I say
thank you. Thank you for putting your health
and safety and the health and safety of your fel-
low Wisconsinites first. "Now, let's get to work together to get our
family members, friends, and neighbors vaccinated so we can put this pandemic behind us
for good. We need everybody's help to keep our kids healthy and safe as they head back to
school, many of whom are not yet eligible to get vaccinated and to ensure that our economy continues to rebound and recover through this and get us through stronger than we were before the pandemic. "It's easy. It's free. Anyone 12 and up can get the vaccine and the $100, regardless of in-
surance or immigration status. Get your vaccine shot today and take a friend or loved one with you to get theirs. And, when you're done, all you have to do is head over to the DHS website
at dhs.wisconsin.gov or call 844-684-1064 and register for your $100 VISA gift card. "Please, don't wait. You have until Sep tember 6 to get vaccinated and get this hun-
dred dollars. So, let's get vaccinated, folks." Having concluded his remarks, the Gover nor turned the microphone to DHS Secre-
tary-Designee Karen Timberlake. The sec retary-designee reinforced the governor’s
statement, stating that lack of vaccinations are
resulting in preventable illness and prevent-
able deaths. Not only does the vaccine help
prevent contraction of the COVID-19 virus and the delta variant but vaccination helps re-
strain the further mutation into other variants. Timberlake pointed out that vaccines can be lo – cated at vaccines.gov that will point to clinics and the hours of those clinics. She reiterated the governor's direction to dhs.wisconsin.gov or to claim the VISA incentive at 100.wisconsin.gov where registration to claim the incentive can
take place. Pastor Elizabeth Bier concluded the press
conference and she began by referencing Mar-
tin Luther's Whether One Should Flee from a
Deadly Plague in 1527, in which he wrote, “I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer
medicine, and take it I shall avoid places
and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence." Pastor Bier gave thanks for the intellect and vision that allowed for the development and
production of the current vaccine. Pastor Bier
has been a stalwart champion of vaccination,
helping others to find sources and locations for the vaccine. She also reported that the
majority of her parishioners are indeed vac-
cinated. But even those who chose not to re ceive vaccinations are still part of the body
of Christ and "We are here for each other."
Pastor Bier also reported that her family was “living the painful reality of an unvaccinated fam-
ily member who been hit hard by COVID-19."
That family member has been placed in a medically- induced coma for easier administration of
medicines and intubation. "I don't wish that on anyone," she continued. "So, I will do all that I can to help others avoid this." The governor took questions from the assem –
bled news media.
As the press conference concluded, non-media members of the audience began shouting
questions and accusations at the governor. Owen-Withee resident Albert Goerlitz
claimed that his mother died from the vacci-
nation. Others repeated extraordinary claims
against the vaccination in the face of the
stark statistic that 99.7% of all COVID-relat –
ed fatalities are among the non-vaccinated.
Sign-carrying protestors shouted at the governor and, after the governor departed, continued their sign-waving in front of the church, causing some to wonder if they were protesting the church, as well as the governor and the vaccine. Ironically, one of the signs used the well-known Pro-Choice rhetoric of "My Body/My Choice.'