Vaccine Update: Almost 2.5 Million Doses Administered; 15 Percent Fully Vaccinated

As of Tuesday, March 23, Wisconsin had been allocated nearly 2.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government. Earlier this month, the state began administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States. As we reported here, Wisconsin was initially allocated 47,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In total, as of March 24, about 2.44 million vaccine doses had been administered in the state, and more than 890,000 Wisconsin residents or 15.3 percent of the state’s population were fully vaccinated. Nearly 75 percent of Wisconsinites aged 65 and older have received at least one dose.

On March 22, the state began vaccinating individuals with certain medical conditions, in addition to all other groups already eligible. According to the Department of Health Services (DHS), the following groups are now eligible to receive a COVID vaccine in Wisconsin:

  • Frontline health care personnel
  • Residents of long-term care
  • Police and fire personnel, correctional staff
  • Adults age 65 and older
  • Education and childcare staff
  • Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
  • Some public-facing essential workers such as 911 operators, public transit, and grocery store employees
  • Non-frontline essential health care personnel
  • Facility staff and residents of congregate living settings
  • Individuals age 16 and older with the following medical conditions:
    • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    • Cancer
    • Cerebrovascular disease
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Diabetes
    • Down syndrome
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Hypertension or high blood pressure
    • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
    • Liver disease
    • Neurologic conditions, such as intellectual disabilities and dementia
    • Overweight, obese, or severely obese
    • Pregnancy
    • Pulmonary fibrosis
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Thalassemia

As of March 24, Wisconsin had administered more than 3.2 million tests for COVID-19 since early 2020. Of those tests, almost 574,000 were positive. About 6,600 people with COVID-19 have died in Wisconsin, representing 1.1 percent of all cases. Since the beginning of 2021, the seven-day average of positive tests out of total tests has declined, from 10.2 percent on January 1 to two percent on March 10. It has since risen slightly, reaching 2.5 percent on March 23.

All vaccine and testing data are from DHS. The agency recently announced a redesign of its vaccine data webpage.

FEMA to Staff Two Vaccination Sites in Wisconsin

On March 15, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began staffing the COVID vaccine clinic at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. The federal agency is providing a team of 57 people to assist the Milwaukee Health Department by freeing up health department workers who would otherwise staff the site. This operation is expected to move to American Family Field around May 1, the time that all Wisconsinites are expected to become eligible for a COVID vaccine.

Beginning April 8, FEMA will begin staffing a COVID vaccine clinic at Zorn Arena on the UW-Eau Claire campus. The arena already hosts a COVID testing and vaccination site. Once FEMA takes over, the site will administer 3,500 doses per day, and could eventually administer more depending on supply. It has also been reported that Dane County is discussing a partnership with FEMA to staff a vaccine clinic at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

These partnerships with FEMA do not involve an additional allocation of vaccines or federal funding.