DHS: State May Have Supply To Immunize 80 Percent Of Vaccine-Eligible Population By End Of June

New Cases Continue To Hold Steady In Low 400s

A seated woman gets a COVID-19 shot in her arm
Lisa Xiong, a staff member at The Hmong Institute, gets her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Life Center in Madison, Wis. on March 9, 2021. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” she said. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

The state Department of Health Services says Wisconsin may have enough vaccine supply to immunize 80 percent of Wisconsinites 16 years and older by the end of June.

But in a briefing with reporters Thursday, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk, cautioned that supply on its own doesn’t necessarily translate into vaccinations.

“Supply is one thing, and then administration and demand are the other two important legs of the stool,” Willems Van Dijk said.

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Willems Van Dijk made the estimate based on projections of vaccine supply the state receives from the federal government, but noted that those projections get less trustworthy the further out they get.

If Wisconsin was able to vaccinate 80 percent of people 16 years and up, that would constitute herd immunity — or the level of immunity against the coronavirus within the population that would be sufficient to stop the spread of the virus — according to goals laid out by DHS. But other experts have said herd immunity may require immunizing children under the age of 16, who are currently ineligible as scientists study whether the vaccine is both safe and effective in kids.

In a press release Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers also announced the opening of a new COVID-19 mass vaccination site in Eau Claire on April 8.

The clinic, supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will be located at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena. An estimated 3,500 weekly vaccine doses will be provided to the site, and it will have capacity to immunize 1,200 people a day.

The vaccination efforts come as new reports of COVID-19 cases are holding steady in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by DHS.

DHS reported 490 new cases of the disease Thursday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 409 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 363 daily cases. A week before that the average number of daily cases was 522.

There were 2,680 negative tests reported Thursday.

As COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin remain low, more of the state’s residents are being vaccinated against the disease.

A total of 2,148,882 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Wisconsin as of Thursday, with 44.3 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up fully vaccinated.

As of Thursday, 761,027 people in Wisconsin, or 13.4 percent of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

Increasing rates of vaccination have provided a sense of hope after a yearlong pandemic that has claimed the lives of 6,556 people in Wisconsin. There were two new deaths from COVID-19 reported Thursday.

Other DHS data from Thursday include:

  • 571,220 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
  • 3,249,111 total tests administered, 2,677,891 of which have been negative since the pandemic began.
  • 26,994 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.7 percent of all positive cases, since the pandemic began.
  • Daily testing capacity remains at 59,273, though only 3,170 new test results were reported Thursday.

Coronavirus rates vary from county to county. In order to track COVID-19 activity levels, DHS looks at the number of new cases per a county’s population over a 14-day period — and whether there’s an upward or downward trend in new cases. Activity levels range from “critically high,” “very high,” “high,” “medium,” to “low.”

As of Wednesday, DHS data showed the state had no counties with “critically high” or “very high” levels of COVID-19 activity. The majority of Wisconsin counties have “high” levels of activity. There were growing case trajectories in Calumet, Dunn, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, Pierce and Taylor counties. Wisconsin’s overall COVID-19 activity level is “high.”

For more about COVID-19, visit Coronavirus in Wisconsin.