Monday, March 1, 2021

So far, Wisconsin is doing well on getting people vaccinated

Today was another good step in fighting against COVID-19 in Wisconsin, as many more state residents became eligible to be vaccinated against the virus.
DHS [The Wisconsin Department of Health Services] announced the new eligible groups in January with a priority order that begins with education and child care staff followed by Medicaid long-term care programs, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline health care personnel and people living in congregate living settings.

“Everyone included in these newly eligible groups will eventually have the opportunity to get vaccinated, but we are asking everyone to practice patience and wait to schedule an appointment in order to allow those at higher risk to get vaccinated first,” DHS interim secretary Karen Timberlake said in a press release. “Workers who are more likely to come in contact with the public or who are unable to avoid close contact with others are at higher risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19.”

Educators and child care workers are expected to begin receiving vaccines in March and early April with the remaining categories in the group in April and May. [Deputy DHS Secretary Julie] Willems Van Dijk said that with the current vaccine allotment, it will take about two months to vaccinate people 65 and older and educators.
As Dan Shafer notes in the Recombobulation Area, Wisconsin has become one of the best states in America for getting its people the vaccine.
One of those places where extremely good things are happening is the state of Wisconsin, where the vaccination rollout is now proving to be a huge success.

Wisconsin currently ranks third in the nation for vaccine distribution.

The state has used 89.5% of its supply, and is behind only North Dakota and New Mexico (both significantly less populous states), and is now ahead of West Virginia (a state heralded as an early vaccination success story), firmly in the top five, according to Bloomberg’s vaccination tracker (as of Saturday, Feb. 27). This is an extremely good thing.

Wisconsin also ranks fairly high for the percentage of the state’s population to have received one shot (16.1%, 17th) and two shots (8.1%, 13th). The state has administered nearly 1.5 million doses of the covid vaccine, at a rate of about 33,000 per day. If anything, the issue in Wisconsin is a lack of supply. Distribution is moving quickly.
It seems likely that we will pass 500,000 Wisconsinites that have completed their 2-shot cycle in the coming days, and DHS says nearly 55% of the state’s 65+ population have received at least one dose.

After a slow start that Republicans tried to score political points on, those WisGOPs have gone mostly silent as each of the last 5 weeks has had more than 199,000 doses administered to Wisconsinites.
Intriguingly, the counties that have had the largest percentage of its residents getting at least one dose have been in Northern Wisconsin, with Menominee County having the highest percentage of any county in the state. To me, that indicates success in having Indian Health Services perform vaccinations and related outreach to Native populations, which has been targeted in COVID-related stimulus measures.
This progress in vaccinations and in the availability of vaccines allowed Wisconsin to expand eligibility today, so hopefully teachers, grocery workers and other public facing workers can get their cycles completed in the next couple of months, clearing the way for the rest of us to get our shots before Summer.

Long way to go, and many are likely to grow impatient as they want to get their shots ASAP to get closer to pre-COVID normal before the weather starts cooling in Fall (I’m right there with you). But January and February has seen Wisconsin perform well in not only preventing more Sconnies from getting COVID, but in getting the vaccinations out to prevent future spread of the virus. Let's keep hammering down on it.

EDIT- And here's more good news on the vaccine front.

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