State will see fewer vaccine doses next week, but demand expected to rise, officials say

NOW: State will see fewer vaccine doses next week, but demand expected to rise, officials say

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The state will see fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week as demand dwindles, but some health professionals expect interest to rise in the coming weeks.

State health officials announced they are only ordering a fraction of what they typically request from the federal government.

The federal government allocated 86,580 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 65,900 first doses of the Moderna vaccine and 10,200 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Jennifer Miller said they’ve ordered 9,120 Pfizer doses, 2,070 Moderna doses and just 2,100 Johnson & Johnson doses.

Ordering fewer doses “will help reduce waste of doses that are getting close to expiring,” said Miller. In addition, providers are shifting their strategy from large vaccination sites to smaller ones at places such as schools and churches.

While a decline in doses is a sign fewer people are interested in getting the shot, some vaccine providers believe it will be temporary.

“When the FDA makes an announcement expanding the age group to 12 and up, that will be very positive news because another group will become eligible for the vaccine,” said Mo Kharbat, VP of pharmacy at SSM Health.

The FDA is expected to approve the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 soon, which could increase demand. If more become eligible for the shot, health officials say they can relatively quickly order additional doses to address the need.

Other health care providers worry vaccine hesitancy could also impact progress on reaching herd immunity.

“The decrease in vaccinations could lead to slower and no achievement to herd immunity, and the more people vacationed is always better --this is not a light switch thing,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health.

DHS is also reporting nearly every county in the state right now is experiencing high COVID-19 case levels, another reason officials are stressing the importance of the shot.

“It’s true things are much better, but there’s still a lot of COVID out there,” said Pothoff.

Health officials say even though restrictions are easing they are reminding people to still keep their guard up to protect themselves and others.

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