Wisconsin to receive fewer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses next week

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee held a COVID vaccine clinic for frontline workers on Dec. 15. (Photo: Advocate Aurora Health)

Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he is seeking more doses of the Pfizer vaccine after being informed that the state will receive a smaller shipment next week than its initial round this week.

The state is slated to receive 35,1000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, compared to 49,725 this week. Evers said in a statement Friday that next week’s allocation is less than was expected.

Wisconsin is among many states to be caught off guard by their week 2 vaccine allocation, according to several national news reports.

“This is unacceptable. Wisconsin citizens deserve the vaccine the federal government promised,” Evers said. “Our health care workers and long-term care residents need this vaccine that is ready and available. We call on the federal government to send us more vaccine without delay.”

Evers said state health officials also need more clarity from the federal government about how much vaccine the state can expect to receive from week to week. Currently, states are informed of their allocation for the following week a few days in advance.

“Planning logistics and allocation with only a few days’ notice at a time makes the work incredibly challenging and forecasting timelines impossible,” Evers’ office said in a statement. “Hospitals and clinics have been anxiously awaiting these doses to help protect their staff that are providing care to Wisconsin residents.”

As of the end of Wednesday, 1,010 people had been immunized across the state, Department of Health Services secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.

While some have alleged there are issues with the production and distribution of Pfizer’s vaccine, the company pushed back on that claim in a statement Thursday.

“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed,” the company’s statement said. “This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. government to the locations specified by them. We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.

“We have continuously shared with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through weekly meetings every aspect of our production and distribution capabilities. They have visited our facilities, walked the production lines and been updated on our production planning as information has become available.”

Pfizer added the company remains confident it will be able to deliver up to 50 million doses globally this year and up to 1.3 billion next year.

States with population sizes comparable to Wisconsin received roughly similar amounts of the Pfizer vaccine this week, according to a New York Times database. Colorado and Minnesota, which have slightly fewer residents than Wisconsin, both expected to receive 46,800 doses this week, compared to Wisconsin’s 49,725.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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