11.5% of State is Fully Vaccinated
Vaccine will be available to the general public by May 1st.
In a little over a week, another 2.8% of the state’s population has completed the vaccination process.
This indicates the rate of vaccination is speeding up, as the previous week the state recorded a weekly vaccination rate of 2.4% of the state’s population, which was higher still than the week before that.
Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary for the state Department of Health Services, said this was “incredible progress” during a briefing Thursday, and due in large part to the steadily increasing amount of vaccine the state has been receiving from the federal government.
In February and March, the allocation has grown week over week, Van Dijk said. The state has been scrambling to respond to an ever changing level of allocation and demand as more vaccine arrives and new groups are made eligible.
The state recently announced it expects to have enough vaccine to open up vaccination to the general public by the end of May. Then, the Associated Press reported Friday that Governor Tony Evers announced that the state would open vaccine eligibility to everyone by May 1st, to keep up with a timeline announced by President Joe Biden Thursday.
The president said he plans to direct all states, tribal authorities and U.S. territories to make every adult in the U.S. eligible for a vaccine by May 1st. The most critical piece for achieving that is supply, which has directed the pace of vaccination since the first vaccine was administered in January.
The state just began the second phase of vaccination, phase 1b, on March 1st. After prioritizing educators and childcare workers for the first two weeks, DHS now says that all groups eligible under this phase should begin seeking out vaccination. Friday, DHS updated its list of eligible vaccine candidates to include restaurant workers.
Last week, a clinic on the south side operated by Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers became one of 199 clinics around the country that started receiving a direct supply of vaccine from the federal government to operate a vaccination clinic for its patients. The president announced Thursday he plans to add another 700 community health centers to the program.
Also on Thursday, DHS said the state would open eligibility to persons with chronic health conditions by the end of March. This group is estimated to include 60% to 65% of the state’s population. Though some have already been eligible for vaccination under previous phases.
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