Wisconsin residents will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in late January, weeks later than many states.
Wisconsin residents will be vaccinated weeks later than other states
On Thursday, Wisconsin health officials said that assisted-living residents would be immunized against the coronavirus weeks later than most other states, a reason for some executives to express their frustrations with the delay.
Wisconsin is one of the states to activate the federal program for COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. People who live and work in assisted-living would receive the vaccine first. CVS and Walgreens send vaccination teams to long-term care facilities nationwide to inoculate residents and staff on-site, as per Journal Sentinel via MSN.
On December 28, 2020, vaccinations started in nursing homes in Wisconsin, but the state will not begin COVID-19 vaccine distribution until the week of January 25 to living facilities. By the end of the week, state officials expect vaccinations would take place at "nearly a half" of Wisconsin's almost 350 nursing homes, the state's immunization program manager Stephanie Schauer said.
Earlier this week, eight states, including Wisconsin, were listed as those that had not signaled they are ready to begin vaccinations in its more than 4,000 assisted facilities. About 29 states started COVID-19 vaccinations on January 4 or even earlier, as per CVS data. In the week of January 11, eleven more are set to start their vaccination.
Vaccination delay in Wisconsin due to massive volume of doses needed
Officials claim that the vaccination problem is about the volume needed to cover the initial doses for most living and working in assisted-living, which is approximately 140,000 people. Half of the 140,000 were needed to be set aside within a week to notify the federal government that the state is ready to start assisted-living vaccinations.
Willems Van Dijk said that Wisconsin had nearly 50,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines set aside for the assisted-living facilities. Meanwhile, the deputy secretary explained that the state has an "abnormal" assisted-living population than other states.
Jim Tarantino, CEO of Capri Communities, a group of 18 assisted-living and memory care facilities across southeastern Wisconsin, gathered the needed consent from residents and prepared Walgreens to administer vaccinations on December 28. However, that was only the day they became available in nursing homes, not in assisted-living facilities.
Walgreens program coordinators called earlier this week to say that two of Capri's places would receive the COVID-19 vaccine later in January. According to CVS released state-level data, as of Wednesday, almost 7,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to nursing staff and residents at nearly 88 sites in Wisconsin. For inoculating nursing home staff and residents, there were about 57,000 Moderna vaccine doses set aside.
Who's next in Wisconsin's vaccine rollout?
Frontline health workers and nursing home residents are set to receive the COVID-19 vaccine needed to fight the pandemic. But Wisconsin residents await who will be the next to join those ranks, as per Wisconsin Watch.
The COVID-19 vaccination could include grocery clerks, teachers, people in prisons, bus drivers, and other residents who are 75 and older, as per Madeline Heim of Appleton Post-Crescent.
Heim added that those recommendations are expected from the vaccine distribution committee by the end of the week. Questions loomed as COVID-19 infections have consistently increased within the past two weeks after several holidays.
On Friday, the Department of Health Services reported a seven-day average of 2,715 daily infections and an average of 36 new deaths. The state's cumulative COVID-related death toll reached 5,119 on the same day.