MADISON – Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) officials expect shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Moderna, to arrive in the state this week. Front-line healthcare workers will be the first to be vaccinated.

While no specific timetable has been established for distributing the Moderna vaccine in Wisconsin, the DHS notes having the vaccine available to the general public is still “many months away.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last Friday authorized the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The first shipments of the vaccine were sent out over the weekend.

Another COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer, was approved by the FDA earlier this month. Front-line healthcare workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere began being vaccinated with the Pfizer product last week. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require individuals to receive two doses to be effective against the COVID-19 virus.

Unlike the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage making it easier to transport. The two vaccines are not interchangeable, so the DHS cautions healthcare organizations to not mix doses.

Supplies of both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are limited at this time. The DHS on Monday again asked for patience and cooperation from the public.

“We are many months away from having enough COVID-19 vaccine supply and reaching high vaccination coverage,” the DHS stated in a memo to state healthcare providers. “In the meantime, please continue to encourage your patients and stakeholders to continue wearing masks, physical distancing, washing their hands, and getting tested and isolating if they have signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

“Even after the first people get vaccinated, it is important to continue using all these COVID-19 precautions so that we stand the best chance of getting our families, communities, schools, and workplaces ‘back to normal’ sooner,” the DHS stated.


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