MADISON ⏤ The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Tuesday launched a new COVID-19 vaccine data webpage that includes summary metrics for allocation, shipment and total vaccines administered.

It also features a graph displaying the number of vaccinations administered per day.

DHS plans to provide weekly updates at 2 p.m. every Tuesday. To view the information, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm

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More than 40,000 doses administered

As of the end-of-day Monday (Dec. 28), Wisconsin has administered 40,850 initial doses of Pfizer and 6,306 initial doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the two vaccines for emergency use. The first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the state on Dec. 14. Eight days later, the first vaccinations with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine began on Dec. 22.

Frontline health care workers, first responders and residents and staff members at long-term care facilities are the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Officials expect the vaccines to become broadly available during 2021.

Timely data source

“We are committed to providing the public with timely COVID-19 vaccine information,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said in a news release.

“Even though we’re in the early stages of the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program, it is important for Wisconsinites to know where we stand and highlight the unprecedented work being done by COVID-19 vaccinators across the state.”

The vaccination data comes from the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR), an online system that tracks immunizations given in health care settings into one record for Wisconsinites.

This database contains more than 9 million immunization records. It receives information from the Wisconsin Vital Statistics program, health care organizations and Medicaid. The database then shares data with Minnesota and Michigan’s immunization registries. 

The federal Centers for Disease Control’s guidance dictates that facilities must report all COVID-19 vaccinations to WIR. The state also expects providers to complete reporting within 24 hours of administration.

Palm added that DHS plans to expand the data on its vaccine data webpage as vaccines become more widely available.

At this time, however, geographic and demographic vaccine data will not be publicly available. This is due to the small, targeted approach of the early stages of the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program. 

Protecting the privacy of people who receive a vaccination is DHS’ priority.

Politicians weigh in

At about the same time that the DHS unveiled its new vaccine data website, two members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation ⏤ Rep. Bryan Steil, a Republican, and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat ⏤ also publicly urged Gov. Tony Evers to provide transparency on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan.

The two asked Evers to answer questions about Wisconsin’s vaccination strategy. Specifically, they asked:

  • What is your administration doing to distribute and administer the vaccine effectively and rapidly?
  • When do you expect members of the general public to have access to the vaccine?
  • How will the vaccine be distributed geographically across Wisconsin?
  • What partnerships are in place across the state with health departments and providers to help carry out your vaccination plan? How are you working with partners across the state to communicate scientifically accurate information about the importance of getting vaccinated when the vaccine is widely available?
  • We understand that the state has received unclear information from officials with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) regarding vaccine allocations. What additional resources or information do you need to ensure that vaccine distribution in the state will be conducted in an efficient manner? What steps have you taken to ensure that there is a high level of transparency for members of the public during this time?
  • The Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) has worked to convey accurate information about the spread and impact of COVID-19 in the state. Can you describe how vaccine information will be incorporated into this effort and made available to the public?

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...