Wisconsin plans to vaccinate health care workers before end of year

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MADISON (WKOW) — State health officials anticipate having a small amount of vaccine in Wisconsin by the end of the year.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said at a news conference Tuesday health care workers will be at the top of the list, of those who get the vaccine first here in our state.

Ultimately, each state will make the final decisions on who will get the priority doses, but a Centers for Disease Control & Prevention committee voted Tuesday on recommendations to share with all states.

Officials say the first group should be frontline health providers and support personnel, as well as people who live in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

The federal government has said 40 million doses could be available by the end of the year.

Palm says how much we get right away will be based on our population.

For now, Wisconsin is planning on working with health care providers and hospitals initially.

“Partnering with health care providers, partnering with hospital systems to help distribute, to get those shots in the arms of their workers is a natural partnership for us,” Palm said. “It’s a natural extension of the work we’ve been doing with health care providers and hospitals throughout the pandemic.”

The state is also part of a program for pharmacies to work with long-term care facilities to provide the vaccine when it’s available. All skilled nursing facilities have signed on to that partnership, according to Palm.

While health care workers are expected to get the vaccine by the end of the year, we still don’t know who will be next, or when the next round will come. It all depends on how fast it’s manufactured and shipped out.

“We actually are in very close contact, as are all states, with the CDC and with our federal partners, so as they have additional info or things shift and change that they’re able to provide that to us as quickly as possible and we in turn will be able to shift and change on the ground in our planning and our efforts moving forward,” Palm said.

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