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First healthcare hero to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Wisconsin reflects on dose milestone

On Wednesday the state surpassed one million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 10:43 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Roughly two months after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Wisconsin, UW Health respiratory therapist Tina Schubert witnessed another milestone as the state surpassed one million doses administered.

The number includes both first and second doses. As of Wednesday, roughly 4.5% of Wisconsinites were fully vaccinated against the virus.

“It was a very emotional moment for me,” Schubert said.

She said she wanted to get vaccinated to inspire others and share it is safe to do so.

“Number one, I thought about my daughter. I wanted to be a positive role model for her. Number two, I wanted to have a positive impact on my community,” she said.

On December 14, the first doses were administered with 10 healthcare workers receiving the shot. As more people became eligible, the state saw nearly 48,000 people vaccinated every day during the peak at the beginning of February.

“It’s exciting. I’m hopeful we are going in the right direction,” Schubert said.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers announced the new milestone in the state’s fight against COVID-19 on Twitter, saying exciting news” and thanked all people who were able to make this happen.

The focus now for vaccine distribution hubs is balancing the supply and demand. SSM Health’s Wisconsin VP of pharmacy, Mo Kharbat, said as more people become eligible, they realized they did not have enough vaccines to keep up. The health system currently has capacity to distribute 20,000 shots a week, but is receiving a fraction of that.

“If we begin to get more vaccines as a state, then every vaccinator, including SSM health will be getting more doses. Then, we can run at capacity and hopefully reach the next milestone- two million, three million and so forth,” Kharbat said.

Schubert said it is a milestone representing progress, but not the end goal.

“I’m hoping we just keep going,” she said.

As of Wednesday, the Badger State ranked seventh in the nation in terms of the percent of population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC and Our World in Data.

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