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Wisconsin Aims To Ramp Up COVID Vaccinations Following Holiday 'Slowdown'

Sean Gallup
Getty Images
Nurse Michaela Randerath prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at the vaccination center at the Metropolis-Halle events center on Jan. 5 in Potsdam, Germany.

Now that the holiday season is over, Wisconsin leaders hope to increase COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the State Department of Health Services, Wisconsin has administered about a third of the vaccine doses it has received. Of 266,675 doses shipped to the state, 85,609 shots have been given.

During a press call Tuesday, Health Secretary Andrea Palm responded to a question about why the vaccinations aren’t happening more quickly.

“I think there was certainly a slowdown over the holiday break as folks took a little time out of the workforce, and so there were fewer vaccine clinics, fewer opportunities to put vaccines in arms,” Palm said. “It is now certainly time to ramp up and push that vaccine that vaccinators have through the system and into arms as quickly and safely as possible.”

Wisconsin has been vaccinating people in the 1a priority group, including healthcare workers and nursing home residents, for three weeks now.

“It’s important to understand the magnitude of this work,” Palm said. “Vaccinating everyone in Wisconsin who wants a vaccine is the most significant public health intervention we have ever faced, and it will take time.”

Palm said one logistical challenge in the vaccine rollout is that the state doesn’t find out how many doses it will receive from the federal government until the last minute.

“We normally get a final number on Friday and then it ships to us over a few days early the following week,” she said. “So it is not clear to us exactly what our allocation for next week will be.”

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said Tuesday that the county has begun vaccinating emergency medical service personnel. And, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the city requested an initial 800 vaccine doses from the state, and hopes to begin vaccinating public health and EMS workers as soon as possible.

Emily has been reporting on Milwaukee-area education for WUWM since 2018.
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