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Milwaukee Health Officials Say Increased Supply Is On Horizon To Vaccinate New Priority Groups

James Thew
With vaccine production ramping up and the expected emergency approval of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, local health officials are optimistic Wisconsin is on the road to increased supply of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local health officials are optimistic Wisconsin is on the road to increased supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. They say that’s the only way to get shots in the arms of more high-priority groups.

Production is ramping up all over the country on the two vaccines already approved by the FDA and in use. But a new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to receive emergency use authorization possibly as early as this weekend.

Greenfield Health Director Darren Rausch said additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are necessary to meet demand.

“Local health departments expect to receive about 36% of our requested vaccine allocations for next week,” said Rausch. “What that looks like broken down is that the 11 health departments in Milwaukee County anticipate receiving approximately 5,900 doses for next week out of more than 16,000 doses requested.”

Currently, the state is still trying to vaccinate the highest risk group — those over the age of 65.

But starting Monday, March 1, the state is opening up access to additional groups.

“The additional groups being prioritized include education and childcare staff. It includes individuals enrolled in Medicaid long term care programs, including public facing essential workers, in addition to non-frontline essential health care personnel, and lastly, facility, staff and residents that live in congregate living facilities,” said Rausch. 

Which groups after that would start to receive the vaccine hasn't been finalized, but Rausch hears they could start becoming eligible in April.

Maayan Silver is a WUWM news reporter.
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