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Wisconsin hopes to have three federal COVID-19 immunization sites — in Madison, Milwaukee and Eau Claire — as the supply of vaccine is expected to increase and some 2 million more residents are expected to become eligible for shots in coming weeks.
A vaccination clinic by the Federal Emergency Management Agency likely will be announced in Milwaukee soon, Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy director of the state Department of Health Services, said Monday.
Dane County continues to pursue a similar site at the Alliant Energy Center, where teachers will begin receiving vaccine through the county Tuesday, and a third one is being sought in Eau Claire, Willems Van Dijk said.
The FEMA sites don’t bring additional vaccine as initially hoped, but they come with staff and money for support services that enable high volumes of vaccination, she said.
“We remain optimistic,” Ariana Vruwink, spokeswoman for County Executive Joe Parisi, said of acquiring a federal site at Alliant. Partners in the effort met last week to discuss the next steps should the site be approved, she said.
A state-run vaccination clinic opened last month at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville, and another will open Tuesday at UW-La Crosse. A state-run online registry is available in some counties, along with a statewide hotline at 844-684-1064.
The state this week is expected to announce which groups will become eligible for vaccination next, in phase 1c. The groups will likely include people under 65 with certain chronic diseases and some essential workers not yet eligible, such as those in manufacturing, according to previous deliberations by a committee advising the state.
Willems Van Dijk said those groups could add up to about 2 million of the state’s 5.8 million residents.
“We’re really hopeful that we’ll see significant increases in vaccine in the month of April and even a little bit more in the month of May,” Willems Van Dijk said. “We’re really preparing for a day when we’re not living in as extreme a scarcity as we are now, and being able to open up eligibility further.”
Nearly 1.1 million people in Wisconsin, or 18.4%, have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 600,000, or 10.4%, are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.
Based on slightly higher figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that include vaccinations at additional federal sites, Wisconsin ranks 19th among states in vaccination per capita. It ranks No. 1 in the administration of doses received, with 94%, according to an analysis by The New York Times.