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Wisconsin Health Official: It Could Take Months Before COVID-19 Vaccine Is Widely Distributed

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An electronic billboard in Times Square announces "stocks soar on vaccine hopes" on November 9, 2020 in New York City.

Officials from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Tuesday laid out the procedure for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, once it becomes available. Both Pfizer and Moderna say the vaccines they’re developing are at least 90% effective in preliminary trials.

>> Pfizer To Seek FDA OK For COVID-19 Vaccine 'Within Days'

Stephanie Schauer, manager of the state's public health immunization program, said she expects a vaccine to be authorized by the end of the year. Then, health care providers and pharmacists must enroll in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine program, which will provide training on storage, handling and administration of the vaccine. Schauer said the initial supply will be limited so it will be administered in phases.

“At first, we will prioritize health care providers and support staff, as well as long-term care staff. As the supply increases, we’ll widen the criteria for the recommended vaccination to other essential workers and others at risk of getting sick from COVID-19,” she explained.

Schauer cautioned people to be patient, as it will likely take months before the vaccine is widely distributed to the general public. In the meantime, she advised everyone to remain vigilant in efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus – meaning wash your hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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