County making headway on vaccination efforts
Taylor County is still behind the state average in vaccinations but the numbers here are increasing as access expands.
As of Tuesday, 3,558 county residents had received at least their first dose of a vaccine. This is about 17.5% of the county’s total population. By comparison, statewide vaccination is at 29.3% of the population having received at least one dose according to statistics from the Department of Health Services. Locally, Taylor County has 52.5% of residents 65 and older vaccinated and 18.8% of residents 55-64 years old vaccinated.
A major factor influencing the vaccination rate has been the relative shortage of vaccination locations in the county and availability of the vaccine at those locations. The Wisconsin Department of Heath Services lists the county health department, Aspirus Medford Hospital and Clinics and the Medford Walmart as three area vaccinating locations. Less rural counties have more distribution options increasing opportunities. As more vaccination locations come online in the region, the vaccination rate is expected to climb.
Of the more than 1.7 million people who have received at least one vaccine dose, the state this week celebrated crossing the milestone of having more than one million residents fully vaccinated. Of the three available vaccines in the state, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses delivered about a month apart and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single shot. Most vaccines given so far in this region have been either the Moderna or Pfizer.
“We’re happy to see folks in Wisconsin doing their part and getting vaccinated when it is their turn,” said Gov. Evers. “Keep up the good work, and we’ll be back to our Wisconsin way of life before you know it.”
Wisconsin has ranked consistently among the top in the nation and first in the Great Lakes States for number of doses administered per 100,000 people, and is first in the nation in percentage of doses administered. Additionally, more than 1 in 2 Wisconsinites age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated and nearly 3 in 4 have received their first dose. This puts Wisconsin fourth nationally for number of doses administered per 100,000 people age 65 and older.
Since first receiving vaccine in mid-December, Wisconsin has continued to ramp up vaccination efforts. Last week the state opened up eligibility to people with certain medical conditions representing the largest eligibility group to date. Vaccine providers in Wisconsin have administered over 2.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine since the program began, averaging roughly 50,000 doses per day over the past seven days.
“Being fully vaccinated using any of the three safe and highly effective vaccines available provides the best protection from COVID-19,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Having one million Wisconsinites who have completed their vaccine series is yet another strong indicator that our vaccine program is working. Thank you to our vaccinators for getting us to this milestone.”
Locally people may contact the Taylor County Health Department’s COVID vaccination line at 715-965-8830 to sign up. Residents may also sign up at Aspirus through MyAspirus.org or by contacting the Medford Walmart Pharmacy.
The DHS also announced that additional pharmacy vaccination locations are planned to open around the state as seven new pharmacy partners in Wisconsin will start receiving vaccine this week as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
This includes select Costco, CVS, and Hy-Vee locations, as well as the following independent pharmacy networks: Good Neighbor and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Health Mart, Medicine Shoppe and Cardinal Health, and Topco. In addition, Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN), which includes some Hometown Pharmacies, and Walmart will both receive additional vaccine doses allowing them to offer vaccinations at more locations.
“We are excited to expand this program in order to bring more vaccine to communities across the state,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake.