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Wisconsin to open more vaccination clinics, supply increases



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin will open four additional community vaccination clinics across the state, joining one already up and running in Janesville, as the state’s supply of vaccine increases amid a push to inoculate people for the coronavirus in underserved areas, Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday.

The state will be receiving an additional 115,000 doses of vaccine for at least the next two weeks, up more than 64% from the 70,000 doses the state was getting a month ago, said Julie Willems Van Dyke, deputy secretary of the state Department of Health Services.

“There is more vaccine coming,” she said, adding that a third vaccine from Johnson and Johnson could be approved soon.

The new community clinics will be in La Crosse, Racine and Marathon counties, with a fourth split between Douglas and Barron counties in northwest Wisconsin, the governor’s office announced. They are all expected to open within the next two months.

Clinic locations were based on population demographics, local health capacity, operations, and concentration of other vaccine providers, Evers’ office said. Eventually, 10 community clinics are planned for around the state. Everyone eligible for the vaccine, no matter where they live, will be able to schedule an appointment.

Locations in Milwaukee and Madison are also being eyed for Federal Emergency Management Agency-run vaccination sites, but for now it does not appear those will come with additional vaccine from the federal government, Willems Van Dyke said.

“Even if we start with state allotment, I’m not convinced at some point in the future there wouldn’t be a federal allotment,” she said.

Additionally, 178 Walgreens locations across Wisconsin that are a part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will receive twice as many vaccine doses this week as last. The allocation will increase to 35,350 this week. The program, like the community clinics, is designed to reach underserved communities.

Currently, everyone over the age of 65 in Wisconsin is eligible to be vaccinated. Nearly 47% of people over age 65 have gotten at least one dose. About 225,000 teachers, school staff and child care workers will be first in line for the next priority group which begins eligible on Monday, Willems Van Dyke said.

As more people over age 65 get vaccinated, it will free up doses in the supply chain for teachers as they become eligible, Willem Van Dyke said.

The state is launching a vaccine registration website on Monday where people can sign up to get shots and find out where vaccinations are available. People can also learn about vaccine availability by contacting their local health care provider, Walgreens or by checking their local public health department website, the governor’s office said.

There are more than 1,800 vaccinators across Wisconsin.

Positive COVID-19 cases have been on the decline in Wisconsin, with the seven-day average of new cases at its lowest point since early July. More than 560,000 Wisconsin residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,317 have died of the disease since the pandemic started.

Wisconsin’s vaccination rate was 15th highest nationally, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. As of Tuesday, 14.9% of Wisconsin’s population, more than 815,000 people, have received at least one dose, which was ahead of the national average of 13.4%.

More than 370,000 residents have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or about 6.3% of Wisconsin’s population, the state health department said.

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