Some communities do not have COVID vaccine supply to meet demand

Wisconsinites 65 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. But while some communities are proceeding as planned, others say they do not have the supply to even get started.

Full Circle Family Medicine in Germantown is among the state's certified vaccinators. It has been given the go-ahead to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and older this week.

Full Circle Family Medicine in Germantown

"I didn’t know we’d be able to get any, being a pretty small practice. I was just kind of throwing my hat in the ring, hoping for the best," said Dr. Kirsten O'Quinn of Full Circle Family Medicine.

20 doses are expected to arrive at the clinic on Wednesday. That is enough to cover all eligible and interested patients. Dr. O'Quinn said she personally called each of those patients on Saturday to share the good news.

Dr. Kirsten O'Quinn

"It is really exciting. I can’t tell you—in fact, the first patient that I called was crying happy tears and I think I cried a little bit with her," Dr. O'Quinn said.

But while the doctor is moving ahead with Phase 1b, other vaccinators are already pumping the breaks.

This weekend, Mayor Tom Barrett announced the Milwaukee Health Department would be delaying shots for seniors until Feb. 1 -- after receiving 1,500 fewer doses than anticipated. The city will focus on police officers this week.

Pharmacist Dimmy Sokhal with Hayat Pharmacy in Milwaukee is also postponing plans to give shots to people 65 and older.

"Unfortunately we will have to kind of take a step back and just focus on the health workers and exhaust the list of the healthcare workers that have reached out to us," Sokhal said.

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COVID-19 vaccine

Sokhal said the pharmacy received 120 doses on Monday, Jan. 25 despite requesting more than 1,000.

"We’re keeping our fingers crossed that hopefully the supply goes up," Sokhal said.

Health officials say the state receives approximately 70,000 doses from the federal government each week -- while there are 700,000 people 65 and older eligible in Phase 1b.

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