Wisconsin has moved up the ranks in vaccine distribution as Gov. Tony Evers’ administration plans to open new community vaccination clinics.
Eleven percent of the state’s population has now received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3.4 percent have completed both vaccinations, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). As of Thursday, Wisconsin ranked eighteenth in the nation for total doses administered and ninth in the nation for people with at least one dose per hundred thousand, according to CDC data.
These percentages compare to the 10.2 percent of the total U.S. population that has been vaccinated with a first dose, according to the CDC.
Wisconsin’s comeback comes after the state lagged behind other Midwestern states and Republican legislators criticized the Evers’ administration’s rollout.
The DHS improved their vaccine dashboard Thursday to include new information, including vaccines administered by race and ethnicity.
“This new dashboard highlights the hard work of our vaccinators and also helps us all identify areas where we must continue to make improvements. We remain committed to an equitable and fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccine,” DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake said.
Nearly 14 percent of Dane County residents have received at least one dose, according to DHS. About 44 percent of those vaccinated were 65 or older. Counties to the southwest of Dane County have a slightly higher percentage of residents who have received at least one dose.
Just over 12 percent of white residents in the county have been vaccinated while 5.4 percent of Black residents, 6.3 percent of Asian residents and 11.8 percent of American Indian residents have been vaccinated, according to DHS.
The Evers administration plans to further increase vaccinations by opening a series of community-based clinics. The first of these clinics is located at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville.
It will open Tuesday and start serving 250 individuals per day with the potential to provide 1,000 vaccinations per day if Wisconsin’s vaccine allocation increases.
While the community-based clinic will serve anyone eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, they will primarily focus on people who do not have health insurance. The clinic will be run by the state DHS and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, a Virginia-based company.
Health officials plan to open six to ten more community-based vaccination clinics in the state as more vaccine doses become available.
“The ability to have supply is critical. There are lots of people in the state to vaccinate, and we need the supply. If doses stay flat, that’s a problem,” Evers said Wednesday when he toured the new clinic.
Some providers, including UW Health, have reported short supplies. As of Thursday morning, UW Health had 29,725 appointments scheduled through the end of March but less than 6,000 vaccines on hand, according to their dashboard.
“We had 505 vaccinators ask for nearly 290,000 vaccines,” DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said when discussing supply levels on Tuesday. “We have a very high number of vaccinators in Dane County, which means not all of them are going to get the vaccine because we need to save the vaccine for other parts of the state.”
state news writer