State Panel Must Ration Vaccines
Wisconsin has 450,000 health care workers but first shipment of vaccines numbers just 65,000.
The list of health care workers in Wisconsin who may be eligible for a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine is long. The number of those who will actually get — and want — the shot is likely to be much lower.
A state advisory committee is working out these details now that federal regulators have approved emergency use authorization for a vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. Another vaccine made by Moderna will also be considered for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration soon.
State health officials have said Wisconsin can expect roughly 65,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine in the initial shipment. But how many doses come after that, and when Wisconsin can expect them isn’t yet known. These variables are what vaccine experts who are part of SDMAC need to pin down before making recommendations to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on which organizations get the vaccine and how much.
“The severity of disease is so bad in Wisconsin right now that we anticipate every organization that applied to be a vaccinator is going to get a portion of their request,” Harter told WPR after the meeting. “We expect it to be a percentage, maybe 20-30 percent of all requests are going to be filled rather than focusing on pockets of geographic severity of disease or where there are staff shortages and things like that because those are fluid right now.”
State health officials will need to approve plans to distribute vaccine to the various organizations that requested it. Harter, who works at Gundersen Health System in western Wisconsin, said it could be Christmas or New Year’s before the first doses of coronavirus shots are administered.
Health care personnel and nursing home workers and residents will be in the first group to get vaccinated. But shots will not be required, state officials say, and employers may shy away from making it mandatory.
Wisconsin has 450,000 health care workers who could be vaccinated state health officials said.
Wisconsin Vaccine Panel: We Need Health Care Workers Immunized Against COVID-19 was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.