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COVID-19 vaccine doses headed Wisconsin’s way

Wisconsin is now anticipating the arrival of 49,725 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, after an announcement came Dec. 14, with shipments expected to increase over the coming weeks and months, once more supply becomes available. The first doses of the vaccine will be shipped directly to regional hubs across the state.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Dec. 11, for the twodose series Pfizer vaccine, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. This authorization comes after the Pfizer product underwent rigorous clinical trials and an expedited review process, to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

State health officials have partnered with eight hubs that

See COVID-19 VACCINE / Page 4 have the ultra-low temperature storage capabilities needed for the Pfizer vaccine and are willing to redistribute the vaccine to providers in their regions. Therefore, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has officially activated the federal government’s pharmacy distribution program for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This announcement is another step forward toward ensuring our most vulnerable Wisconsinites get the vaccine quickly and safely,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “I fully trust in the expertise of our scientists, researchers and public health experts, who are guiding our planning, preparation and distribution. They have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the vaccine infrastructure and clinics are ready for the successful rollout of our Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program.”

Because of the initial limited supply of vaccine, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC), developed Wisconsin-specific recommendations on vaccine prioritization. Based on these Phase 1a recommendations from federal and state health experts, the first populations to receive vaccine will be frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

As Wisconsin begins to receive more vaccine doses from the federal government, the recommendations will expand beyond Phase 1a.

“While we are excited and ready to begin vaccinating those that experts have identified as priority populations, we must remember that this is going to be a long process for everyone,” said DHS secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We are asking Wisconsinites to be patient and continue to help slow the spread of the virus, by staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask, physical distancing, getting tested and washing your hands.”