Wis. officials answer how vaccine supply will meet growing demand once eligibility expands

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 11:14 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - State health officials urged patience Tuesday, as some Wisconsinites feared getting vaccinated will become harder when eligibility expands next week.

Governor Tony Evers announced that anyone 16 years and older will become eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, April 5.

But as many Wisconsin residents called this a feat, some like Jeanne Bissell said they were frustrated because they are already eligible yet unable to book an appointment.

“I think I’ll make a few more phone calls, and then I’ll probably just give up for a while,” Bissell said, “because if it’s going to get opened up to everyone [16 and] over, it’s just going to be a madhouse.”

Gov. Evers said in the Tuesday press conference, “The best news is that our supply continues to be steady. We’re confident in our supply, we’re confident in our vaccine providers, and we are confident in Wisconsinites.”

Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said, according to federal authorities, Wisconsin will get a “small increase” from Pfizer and Moderna, with around 10 to 20 thousand doses per week. For Johnson & Johnson, Van Dijk said the state will get an allotment between 35 and 70 thousand doses per week.

“Remember, supply is still limited, so please be patient and be kind to our vaccine providers,” Gov. Evers said.

With Monday’s expansion, Christy Vogt, a health education coordinator with Public Health Madison & Dane County said the agency plans to stick to the DHS priority list.

To get on the list, Vogt explained, Dane Co. residents should sign up on the state online registry. When appointments are available she said PHMDC will pull from the list in priority order, then randomize people in the group.

She added, “We are working with local, state and federal partners on contingency plans to expand if supply increases substantially. An expansion could be additional vaccination lanes, additional hours, or some combination of both.”

At SSM Health, VP of Pharmacy Services Mo Kharbat said, “The demand will be huge, so it’ll be a much bigger number of people competing for the same number of appointments.” He continued, saying his hospital and clinics are ready to respond with a supply count and enough time to plan.

“We are very hopeful and optimistic that the number of doses available to us, as a state and as a vaccinator, will go up, which will allow us then to open our schedules, expand our clinic operations, expand our business hours and hope to get more and more people vaccinated,” he said.

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