WI health leaders say state needs more vaccines, general public vaccinations may start late spring

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin health officials say the federal government needs to send more coronavirus vaccines to the state.

And they say the general public may not start getting doses until late spring, early summer.

It’s been nearly a month since Wisconsin got its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Now, DHS leaders say the state’s supply from the federal government isn’t meeting demand.

“Last week we had more requests for vaccine from our vaccinators to immunize Phase 1A workers than we had vaccine to send them. We need more vaccine," said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

Van Dijk said the state gets about 70,000 doses for new patients per week.

"And if we look at a goal of one-million doses a day, for example the goal that President-elect Biden has set, that would bring us to need about 125,000 doses a week," she explained.

Meanwhile, the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin is urging DHS to move to Phase 1B.

They also want the state to expand the role of pharmacies in distribution.

“Having that flexibility just allows for pharmacies to make quick pivots, for pharmacists to adapt on short notice and to serve a wider swath of patients," said Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin Executive Vice President & CEO Sarah Sorum.

Van Dijk said about 25-30 percent of the Phase 1A group has been vaccinated.

She added that increased vaccine production and federal approval will help meet the increased demand.

“That is what will really get us there quicker is not only more of the kind of vaccine that’s already authorized, but more vaccines authorized," said Van Dijk.

As of Jan. 11, DHS said 151,502 vaccines have been administered, and 11,586 second doses have been given out.

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