1 million Wisconsinites have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

NOW: 1 million Wisconsinites have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- One million Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, about 17.5% of the state's population, according to health officials. 

Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) made the milestone announcement on Friday, March 5.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) also reports more than 500,000 residents have completed their vaccine series, that means in total, 1.5 million doses are in arms. 

Wisconsin also ranks among the top in the nation and first in the upper Midwest for the number of doses administered per 100,000 people, and is third in the nation in percentage of doses administered, according to state health officials.

Additionally, over one in four Wisconsinites age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated and nearly three in five have received their first dose.

The governor released a video message about the announcement.

“While we still have a long way to go, the light is certainly at the end of the tunnel," said Gov. Evers in a video message. "And every day we are one step closer than yesterday to reaching community-wide immunity and getting back to our Wisconsin way of life."

Health professionals celebrated the milestone but also warned Wisconsinites not to let their guard down with efforts to prevent the spread.

"There may be some opportunities to increase contact with vaccinated individuals, but we need to be careful of keeping our circles small and being thoughtful about that, because if we don’t, we run the risk of broader community spread and that’s going to delay the ultimate goal, doing all the things we want to be doing," said Dr. Matt Anderson, UW Health senior medical director of primary care.

The state also opened up vaccine eligibility to teachers, grocery store employees and other essential workers this week. 

“Having one million Wisconsinites with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is a good sign that our vaccination program is working,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake. “All three COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and we urge folks to get a shot when it is their turn. With increased vaccine supply on the way, we hope to reach the next million even sooner.”

Vaccination Program Helping Nursing Homes

For the first time in months, there are no outbreak investigations at any nursing homes scheduled for next week, according to DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

This is proof the vaccination efforts are working, said Van Dijk during a media briefing on Thursday.

Nursing homes have also seen a significant decline in positive cases as staff and residents were prioritized in the vaccine rollout. AARP Wisconsin called it a positive step forward. 

"We're turning a corner," said Helen Marks Dicks, advocacy director of AARP Wisconsin. "It's also due to the spotlight put on the problems that have existed in nursing homes and the attempts to get the vaccine, PPE and more safety precautions needed."

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