State Health Officials: Vaccinators Ready As CDC Advisors OK COVID-19 Vaccine For Children 12 To 15

Supply Of Pfizer Vaccine Is Plentiful To Vaccine Age Group

Orange buttons in a box say "I got my COVID-10 vaccine!" on them.
Buttons for people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine are on display Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at St. Francis High School in St. Francis, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are holding steady averaging about 500 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 558 new cases of the disease Wednesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 491 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 626 daily cases. Daily new cases have been declining since mid-April when the average was 808.

There were 4,842 negative tests reported Wednesday.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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

On Wednesday afternoon, an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended use of the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12 years old. This expands access to the vaccine, which previously stopped at 16-year-olds.

The state of Wisconsin has enough vaccine to vaccinate the age group, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said during a coronavirus press briefing Wednesday afternoon before the panel announced its decision. Statewide, there are about 300,000 children in the age group, according to Willems Van Dijk.

The state will be ready to vaccinate the age group beginning Thursday, Willems Van Dijk said, should the guidelines remain the same as the previous emergency authorization for the Pfizer vaccine.

A total of 4,751,017 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Wisconsin as of Wednesday, with 77 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up fully vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, 2,215,045 people in Wisconsin, or 38 percent of the population, have been fully vaccinated. Gov. Tony Evers urged more people to get protection against COVID-19 by getting a shot, which he said will help both the state’s economy and community health.

“Public health is a team sport, and we need you to help get this done,” said Evers during a briefing Wednesday.

Increasing rates of vaccination have provided a sense of hope after a yearlong pandemic that has claimed the lives of 6,935 people in Wisconsin. There were 18 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Wednesday.

Other DHS data from Wednesday include:

  • 604,378 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
  • 3,494,575 total tests administered, 2,890,197 of which have been negative since the pandemic began.
  • 29,983 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5 percent of all positive cases, since the pandemic began.
  • Daily testing capacity remains at 59,273, though only 5,400 new test results were reported Wednesday.

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 “very high,” “high,” “medium,” to “low.”

As of Wednesday, DHS data showed the state had two counties — Polk and St. Croix — with a “very high” level, while the majority of Wisconsin counties had “high” levels of activity. There were growing case trajectories in one county and shrinking trajectories in eight. Wisconsin’s overall COVID-19 activity level is “high.”

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