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Wisconsin to receive nearly 50,000 COVID vaccine doses this week

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 1:44 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin will receive nearly 50,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week, according to Gov. Tony Evers.

Shipments are expected to increase over the coming weeks and months.

This week, the state will receive 49,725 doses. The federal government is distributing doses based on state population.

The first doses are arriving at regional hubs in the state. There are eight hubs with “ultra-low temperature” storage needed to keep the Pfizer vaccine.

Gov. Evers says doses will be distributed to health care providers in those regions. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has been working with Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard on the distribution plan.

The first doses will go to frontline health care workers and nursing home residents and workers. CLICK HERE for more information on vaccine priority plans.

DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said it will be about two weeks before the covid-19 vaccine enters long-term health care facilities because the state just activated the ‘Federal Government’s Pharmacy Distribution Program for COVID-19 Vaccine’.

“It is our hope that we will be starting to see vaccination in skilled nursing home facilities around the end of the month,” said Willems Van Dijk. “We take our vaccine that is allocated to Wisconsin, reallocate them to the program to provide vaccine to the pharmacy chains and then go into facilities to vaccinate residents and staff who want one.”

The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose process. That means people who get the shot will have to follow up to get a second dose for it to work.

“While we are excited and ready to begin vaccinating those that experts have identified as priority populations, we must remember that this is going to be a long process for everyone,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We are asking Wisconsinites to be patient and continue to help slow the spread of the virus by staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask, physical distancing, getting tested, and washing your hands.”

The vaccine does not contain live virus. Instead, it uses a piece of genetic code to create a protein.

Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai explained to us how it works.

“Messenger RNA. What it is is it’s a little piece of genetic code. It’s not a piece of COVID-19. It’s not a piece of the virus. It’s a piece of genetic code that when it enters your body, it goes into your muscle cells, where the injection site is, and it tells those cells, it enters that cell, and it tells the DNA within that cell to create a protein. That protein is really similar to what’s on COVID-19 called a spike protein. That’s how COVID-19 infects you. So you’re not going to get COVID-19. You’re not being given COVID-19. But your body will produce a protein that it can react to. So your immune system will then react to that protein and create an immune response to that. And it will remember that immune response. That’s why we do a second dose a month later, to even get a bigger immune response, because the first one’s just not good enough. You get two of those. Your body’s built up an immune response. After it’s done with that mRNA, your body destroys that so it’s not going to stick around and keep making it. That’s why you need the two doses. And then you’ve got this memory. Hopefully it’s a year. Hopefully it’s much longer than a year. That you will, when you’re actually exposed to COVID-19, it will enter your body and your body will say, ‘Not today. You’re not coming in here today. You’re not going to replicate. We have an immune defense system against you.’ So you will not get COVID-19. And if you do get it, it won’t be a serious infection. I think that’s what we saw in the trials that made us so happy, is that it had a 95-94 percent efficacy rate. And no one that did get infected got infected with a serious infection. So really, it’s great news.”

Dr. Rai joins us Tuesdays and Thursdays on Action 2 News This Morning. Have a question? Email news@wbay.com. Visit https://www.wbay.com/health/drrai/ for previous appearances.

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