As Wisconsin continues to trail its Midwestern peers in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, Republican Congressman Bryan Steil recently criticized Gov. Tony Evers’ administration’s rollout effort while Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the Trump administration is to blame for delays.
Steil, of Janesville, publicly shared Evers’ answers to a request he and Baldwin made in December for more information about the state’s vaccine plan, saying they show a “stunning lack of urgency” in light of how Wisconsin stacks up against other states in administering the vaccine.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on Jan. 18, Wisconsin had administered 2,916 COVID-19 vaccine doses per 100,000 residents, which was more than double its per-capita rate from early January, but the lowest out of 12 states in the Midwest.
“The vaccine will save lives and the ability to effectively distribute the vaccine is a matter of life and death for thousands of people in our state. With so many lives and jobs on the line, we need our governor … to lead the country in getting out vaccines, not spend his time making excuses for lagging behind,” Steil said. “If Governor Evers cannot figure out how to distribute the vaccine to those who need it, he should step aside and let someone who can lead this effort do it.”
Baldwin issued a separate statement, joining 42 Democratic senators in calling out the Trump administration’s “failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan.”
“For months, I have been urging the Trump administration to effectively work and communicate with Wisconsin, vaccine and PPE manufacturers, and health care providers to develop a national plan for vaccine distribution and administration,” Baldwin said. “Their response has been a pathetic failure.”
Evers called on the federal government to increase the state’s weekly COVID-19 vaccine dose allocations, noting recently that Wisconsin’s demand will exceed its vaccine supply. Wisconsin had administered 239,102 doses as of Jan. 18, less than two-thirds the amount that had been shipped to the state.
The state needs more than 10,000 additional doses to fulfill requests from vaccinating entities across the state, Evers said.
Evers has repeatedly asked the federal government for additional vaccine. He and other governors have criticized the Trump administration’s allocation of the vaccines.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services officials have asked Operation Warp Speed for additional doses and better forecasting of weekly allocations to be able to plan and project.
“Our vaccine team is working across the state on vaccine distribution, and so many Wisconsinites are ready to get vaccinated and get back to our Wisconsin way of life,” Evers said. “In a state where our statewide mitigation strategies have been struck down and challenged time and time again, it is absolutely critical that Wisconsin get additional doses of vaccine to meet demand and box in the virus.”