Graham Kilmer

State Vaccination Rate Increasing

Weekly federal allocation increases. 6.3% of state now completely vaccinated.

By - Feb 24th, 2021 09:29 am
COVID-19 vaccine. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

COVID-19 vaccine. (Pixabay License).

The pace of vaccination continues to improve in Wisconsin as the supply of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government grows.

In the past week, another 1.8% of the state’s population has completed the vaccination process, receiving both doses of the vaccine. As of Tuesday, 6.3% of the state is fully vaccinated, or more than 375,000 people have completed the two-dose vaccination. Some 1.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered since vaccination began

The weekly allotment of doses to the state is increasing. Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the Department of Health Services, said the federal government will now provide approximately 115,000 doses a week. The prior weekly allocation was 89,000 doses a week. In total, the state’s weekly allocation is now up 64% from when vaccination first began in mid-January, Van Dijk said.

The rising weekly allocation means the state will be able to vaccinate residents at a faster rate. “Of course even this increased amount is not enough to fill all the requests our vaccinators are making,” Van Dijk said. “We had over 500 vaccine providers request 350,000 doses last week.”

The number of doses going to Walgreens around the state has doubled. When the Federal Retail Pharmacy program first began, with the intention to increase access to the vaccine, 15,000 doses was the total weekly allocation for pharmacies in the state.

So far, the state has vaccinated 45% of residents 65 years or older, meaning it’s well on track to begin the next phase of vaccinations by March 1st. That next phase will include education and child care workers, individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline health care essential personnel, and facility staff and residents in congregate living settings.

When this phase begins, teachers and educators will be first in line, Van Dijk said. The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee recommended and DHS agreed “that we wanted to get our educators vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Van Dijk said. Educators are essential workers, she said, and a number of school districts are already operating in person with many more set to begin in-person classes this spring.

The Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) is planning to administer 4,460 doses of vaccine this week, said Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson. The health department hopes to begin administering double that amount, as Jackson said it would be requesting 10,000 doses for the following week.

Next week, the health department will begin operating two mobile vaccination teams. They will deploy first to two churches next week Friday. The exact details have not been released yet.

“The supply of vaccine has limited our ability to expand mobile vaccination efforts,” said Mayor Tom Barrett, “That is going to change.” The city is working with the state on these mobile sites and the amount of vaccine allocated for them will be separate from MHD’s weekly allotment.

State and city officials are discussing with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) a possible vaccination site in Milwaukee run by the federal agency.

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