Gov. Tony Evers today, with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), announced that Wisconsin is anticipating the arrival of 49,725 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week with shipments expected to increase over the coming weeks and months once more supply becomes available. The first doses of the vaccine will be shipped directly to regional hubs across the state.
State health officials have partnered with eight hubs that have the ultra-low temperature storage capabilities needed for the Pfizer vaccine and are willing to redistribute the vaccine to providers in their regions. DHS has been working closely with Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard, and local, state, and federal partners to ensure the safe, quick, and efficient distribution of the vaccine throughout the state.
“Since the early days in the pandemic, we have been planning and preparing for the arrival of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Gov. Evers. “I fully trust in the expertise of our scientists, researchers, and public health experts who are guiding our planning, preparation, and distribution. They have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the vaccine infrastructure and clinics are ready for the successful rollout of our Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program.”
Due to the initial limited supply of vaccine, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC) developed Wisconsin-specific recommendations on vaccine prioritization. Based on these phase 1a recommendations from federal and state health experts, the first populations to receive vaccine will be frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. As Wisconsin begins to receive more vaccine doses from the federal government, the recommendations will expand beyond phase 1a.
“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.”
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the 2-dose series Pfizer vaccine, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. This authorization comes after the Pfizer product underwent rigorous clinical trials and an expedited review process to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
Pfizer and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have provided up to date materials for vaccinators, and Wisconsin's initial group of healthcare providers are completing the steps they need to take to begin vaccination. A second vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, is scheduled to be reviewed by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on December 17. If approved by the FDA, Wisconsin is set to receive 101,000 COVID-19 Vaccines from Moderna next week.