A vaccine milestone has been reached in Wisconsin. More than a million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. The progress is to be celebrated, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.
“This is really exciting news, and we have a great team to thank for it. We also still need your patience and your perseverance going forward. It will take more time, but everyone in our state will have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” said Willems Van Dijk.
She stated that Wisconsin is one of the top states in the nation for vaccine administration, and more than 40% of Wisconsin residents aged 65 or older have received their first dose.
“To put that in perspective, it took 48 days for us to administer the first 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. And it took us only 18 more days to administer the next 500,000 doses and get us over one million. We are on a roll,” she said.
The update wasn’t entirely positive. According to Willems Van Dijk, the state still is facing a massive shortage compared to demand, with many vaccinators only receiving 25 to 30% of doses they request.
“It's a constant retooling that we are looking at in working to get this limited supply of vaccine, which is not enough for anything any county in the state out to back to our vaccinators. In a way that continues to lift all boats and improve vaccination rates across the state,” she said.
DHS expects that in mid-April more than half of residents over the age of 65 will be vaccinated. Once that happens, the vaccine will be offered to the next group of essential workers. Willems Van Dijk said the department is rolling out a new app to help achieve a more efficient and equitable distribution.
The app will create a registry for local and tribal health departments that Willems Van Dijk said will streamline the vaccination process. It will help determine eligibility and manage appointments.
The app will also put people not currently eligible for the vaccine on a waitlist and notify them when they can receive it.