WI sees improved COVID-19 vaccine rollout, 1st community-based clinics

From nearly worst to first... Wisconsin is now leading the country in its vaccine rollout. This, as the state is set to open its first community-based COVID-19 vaccination site next week.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Monday, Feb. 8 a new partnership with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare. AMI will help expand vaccine accessibility across the state by operating community-based vaccination clinics.

DHS selected Rock County to be the site of the first clinic currently scheduled to open Feb. 16. DHS plans on adding community sites as needed and as there is more vaccine available.

FILE - A woman receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center established at the Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

A news release says AMI will work closely with the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and local public health partners to support Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program and help expand vaccine coverage across the state. The Rock County site will open Feb. 16 and start with the ability to vaccinate up to 250 individuals daily.

If Wisconsin’s vaccine allocations increase, the community-based clinic’s goal is to provide up to 1,000 vaccinations per day.  Six to ten additional community-based vaccination sites will open across the state as needed, and as the vaccine supply allows. AMI will coordinate with local public health to meet the unique needs of each community.

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The Rock County community-based vaccination clinic will be the first vaccination site that AMI will operate. The announcement Monday did not say precisely where the Rock County site will be located or whether it will be housed at an existing facility. It also didn't say where any of the other sites will be located or disclose the terms of the state's agreement with AMI.

It's also unclear whether the sites will follow the state's phased approach to vaccinations or allow anyone to get shots.

COVID-19 vaccine

AMI is a physician-owned and physician-led company that specializes in delivering health care solutions in some of the most remote, challenging, and under-resourced environments in the world.

COVID-19 vaccination trends

Meanwhile, according to daily CDC numbers analyzed by the website ourworldindata.org, Wisconsin is currently vaccinating faster than any other state. Wisconsin also ranks 17th in overall vaccination speed since the FDA first approved the COVID-19 vaccines in December. That is up from 47th just a few weeks ago.

Still, vaccinations like UW Health say supply needs to at least double to be able to get through the 65 and older patients who have signed up for their shots by March.

"For example, if we have 22,000 first doses to give for 65-plus -- and we get 2,000 vaccines a week, it’s going to us 11 weeks to make it through that population," said Dr. Matt Anderson, UW Health Senior Medical Director of Primary Care.

On average, DHS says the state receives 70,000 doses of vaccine per week.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

UW Health launches new COVID-19 vaccine dashboard

UW Health announced Monday, Feb. 8 a new online tool to track the health system’s current vaccination progress.

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