Graham Kilmer

3% of State Residents Fully Vaccinated

More than 793,000 doses administered, and pace will increase as supplies to Wisconsin increasing.

By - Feb 10th, 2021 07:22 pm
COVID-19 vaccine. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

COVID-19 vaccine. (Pixabay License).

The percentage of Wisconsinites that have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is now at three percent.

Vaccine production is slowly increasing and this has led the federal government to increase the size of allocations to states, Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary for the Department of Health Services said at a briefing Tuesday. The number of doses being distributed to states per week was recently bumped from 10 million to 10.5 million.

This jumped Wisconsin’s weekly allocation up to nearly 89,000 from previous weeks where allotments were hovering around 70,000 to 72, 000, Van Dijk said. Though, last week, the state reported receiving more than 77,000 doses from the state. 

In total, the state has been allocated 1.2 million doses since vaccinations began, and 901,500 doses have been ordered by the state’s vaccinators.

As of Tuesday, more than 793,000 doses have been administered, and more than 174,000 state residents have completed the two-dose vaccination process.

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination begins on Thursday. Under this program the federal government is shipping vaccine directly to retail pharmacies, like Walgreens, to increase access to the vaccine. Anyone currently eligible will be able to contact their local pharmacy for potential vaccination.

Willems Van Dijk said the federal program will add an additional 18,000 doses to the supply entering the state each week. The common refrain from officials at every level of government has been that the single biggest obstacle to increasing vaccine is supply.

During a press briefing Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers said, “It’s what we’ve said all along, get Wisconsin the supply and we will get shots in the arm.”

The state is still limiting current eligibility for the vaccine to Phase 1a, which includes health care workers and long term care residents and staff, and it recently expanded eligibility to people aged 65 and older. The beginning of the next phase is tentatively scheduled for March 1st. 

As of Tuesday, the number of vaccines given to state residents 65 or older was more than 311,000, meaning about 45% of estimated 700,000 people in the state in that age group have gotten at least one dose. It is estimated that the population in the next stage of vaccination, phase 1b, is roughly the same size, Willems Van Dijk said.

Marlaina Jackson, interim Health Commissioner for the City of Milwaukee, said the health department would likely vaccinate nearly 5,800 individuals this week. That figure included people receiving both first and second doses of the vaccine.

The city is finalizing the dates and locations for its mobile vaccination units, and will announce those in the coming week, Jackson said. The mobile vaccination effort is the city’s attempt to expand vaccine access and make the administration of doses more equitable.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

State and local public health officials are hoping that vaccine availability will increase even more in the coming weeks, now that Johnson & Johnson has submitted a potential vaccine to the federal Food and Drug Administration for emergency use like the Pfizer/Biotech and Moderna vaccines.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single shot vaccine, whereas current vaccines require two doses. Clinical trials show the vaccine does have a lower efficacy than those currently in use — 72% efficacy. Pfizer showed an efficacy of 95% and Moderna showed 94.5%.

The term efficacy means the “proportionate reduction in disease among the vaccinated groups,” according to the CDC. So, an efficacy of 72% means that with two identical groups — one given the vaccine, the other a placebo — the group that received the vaccine will have 72% fewer cases of COVID-19 than the group that didn’t receive the vaccine.

However, as with the vaccines currently in use, preventing the disease is not the only metric of success for the vaccine. Because, despite the 72% efficacy, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was shown to be 85% effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19, and it was 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19.

The first review of the emergency use application for the vaccine has been scheduled for February 26th.

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