MADISON ⏤ Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday the state is expecting shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

The shipments will begin arriving at hospitals and clinics across the state this week, his office said in a release.

“Folks, this is exciting news,” Evers said in making the announcement with the state DHS. “The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool we need to battle this pandemic.”

“While we do not have control over how much vaccine the federal government allocates to our state, I can promise that we are doing everything we can to ensure that our distribution is fair and equitable.”

As of Monday, Kenosha County had reported 11,567 positive COVID cases and 192 deaths in 2020. The state had reported 458,612 positive cases and 4,425 so far this year.

Initial shipment of vaccine

The state expects the initial vaccine shipment to be 16,000 doses, with a total of 100,000 expected in coming weeks.

Unlike the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, medical personnel can store the Moderna vaccine in normal freezers. As a result, they can ship it directly to vaccinating entities across Wisconsin, the release states.

Ahead of the shipments, Evers and the state DHS “activated the federal government’s long-term care pharmacy distribution program,” his office said.

That program will provide on-site vaccination for Wisconsin’s long-term care residents and staff. The state is reserving 29,000 doses of the vaccine for the program.

The distribution program will begin on Dec. 28.

‘Please stay home’

On the state DHS’ behalf, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm asked residents to be patient concerning the vaccine ⏤ also acknowledging more doses will be needed.

“We will need the federal government to increase our supply so we can efficiently expand our efforts to include additional populations,” Palm said.

“As we vaccinate more Wisconsinites, we must all continue practicing the preventive measures we know work. Please stay home, wear a mask and keep physical distance from others.”

After a sped-up testing process, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. Moderna and Pfizer are the first two COVID-19 vaccines the FDA has authorized.

The COVID-19 vaccination process continues to change rapidly. The state DHS will continue to provide updates as they become available, the release stated.

For more information, visit the DHS COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.

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Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...