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Evers calls on federal government to send more vaccine to Wisconsin; critics balk at state’s rollout

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 1:14 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling on the federal government to distribute more COVID-19 vaccines as some criticize the state’s rollout.

Evers said Monday that Wisconsin needs more than 10,000 additional doses to fulfill requests from vaccinators. He says demand will exceed supply this week.

“Our vaccine team is working across the state on vaccine distribution, and so many Wisconsinites are ready to get vaccinated and get back to our Wisconsin way of life,” said Gov. Evers. “In a state where our statewide mitigation strategies have been struck down and challenged time and time again, it is absolutely critical that Wisconsin get additional doses of vaccine to meet demand and box in the virus.”

DHS Deputy-Secretary, Julie Willems Van Dijk, said the only way to increase vaccination efforts in the state is to get more vaccines.

“Last week, week we had more vaccine requests (from distributers and administrators), than we had vaccine to send them. We need more vaccine,” said Willems Van Dijk.

Evers says 550,000 people qualify for the vaccine in the Phase 1A grouping. On Wednesday, the State’s Disaster Medical Advisory Committee is set to release details of who will be in Phase 1B for public comment.

The state has mostly been vaccinating health care workers.

“We started with frontline healthcare workers and our most vulnerable since they have been on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We are eager to open up eligibility to more Wisconsinites but need the federal government in order to do that. We stand ready to vaccinate more and more folks every week but we need more vaccine.”

Wisconsin has administered 151,502 doses of the vaccine.

The CDC says 418,775 doses of the vaccine have been distributed to Wisconsin. CLICK HERE to track CDC vaccine numbers.

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The Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin sent a letter to Palm calling on the state to immediately start vaccinating people in Phase 1B and to expand the pharmacies receiving the vaccine.

“Pharmacies serve as a crucial asset and partner in the fight against COVID-19 and providing more flexibility to pharmacies to provide vaccinations is a necessary next step to have a more efficient dissemination of the vaccine,” the group states.

The Evers administration has faced criticism over the distribution of the vaccine. Critics say they haven’t given enough shots. Some even suggest moving onto phase 1b already.

“I know there are folks who say we should do that now, but if we do it now with the level of vaccine we have available, we will just create mass chaos,” said Willems Van Dijk. “Big long lines, crashed IT and phone systems and that is not what we want to do to our health care providers and local health departments.”

Republican Wisconsin Sen. Alberta Darling called on the Evers administration to be transparent in their plans to roll out the vaccine.

“Governor Evers is on the verge of yet another disaster from his administration,” Darling said, “The governor had months to prepare for this. We all knew the vaccines were on their way. Without a transparent and efficient plan, the governor is repeating the mistakes he made with unemployment insurance. Wisconsin residents deserve and need to know when they can expect to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wisconsin) took to Twitter to call on the governor to “Do your job.” Steil said Wisconsin should be leading the nation in the vaccination effort.

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