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Wisconsin Assembly GOP Backs Bills For Faster Vaccination Of Public, Prioritization Of Those 60+

A GOP bill in the Wisconsin Assembly would immediately allow people 60 and older to register for the vaccine and set a goal of mid-March for general public availability.

Several bills designed to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination process in Wisconsin are making their way through the Republican-controlled state Legislature. 

The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing Wednesday on a measure that would immediately prioritize anyone 60 years and older for the vaccine.

The bill’s author, Republican state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, cited some grim statistics from the state in supporting the plan: “If you take a look at the data, 92% of the COVID-related deaths in the state of Wisconsin are in the age group of 60 and above. So, what this bill says is it prioritizes the absolute most vulnerable people to the top of the line."

Right now, front-line health care workers are receiving the vaccine.

The state announced earlier this week that elderly residents would be next — and anyone age 65 and older may register to get the vaccine, starting Jan. 25.

Sanfellipo’s bill also called for the general public to be eligible for vaccination by mid-March, instead of by June as the state has estimated.

He criticized the state for what he called a “lackadaisical” approach to vaccine distribution and said it’s time to pick up the pace.

“We want to safely administer as many vaccines to as many people as quickly as possible, so we need to start building this plan now,” he said.   

Another proposal from Sanfelippo would allow pharmacy students and technicians to administer the vaccine.

The committee is expected to vote on the measures next Tuesday. But Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is expected to veto them.

Evers said it would be chaotic, opening up vaccines to the general public in the coming weeks, given that the current supply of vaccine isn’t nearly enough to meet the demand. 

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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