Low supply of COVID-19 vaccine delays vaccinations for residents 65 and older in Milwaukee

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jan 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 08:22:57-05

What was supposed to be a big vaccination week for people 65 and older in Milwaukee has since been delayed.

"There's a difference between eligible and having the supply available," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

During a vaccination update this weekend, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Health commissioner Marlaina Jackson unveiled what some called disappointing news that residents 65 and older in the city would have to wait a bit longer to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"You're told one thing and then you think 'okay, we'll get it,' especially with me being the age group that I am in. I thought I would get it sooner," said Mary Ellen Schultz.

Last week the state health department announced Wisconsinites aged 65 and up would be able to receive vaccinations starting January 25. But city officials say they just don't have enough doses of the vaccine to be able to start vaccinating this next group.

"That's one of the challenges that we face right now is having the available supply. I know there are a lot of people who want to get the vaccine as quickly as possible and I don't blame them," said Barrett.

There are about 700,000 people 65 years or older in the state. And with Wisconsin only receiving 70 thousand doses each week - Barrett says vaccinating this age group will be challenging.

"We are only operating at a tenth of that pool in terms of getting the vaccinations each week. This past week we got 3,000 vaccines," said Barrett.

City officials say for the time being residents in that age group should be in constant communication with their healthcare provider to find out when they'll finally be able to get the vaccine. But some say it's not that simple.

"I've been on the phone for 20 minutes or more before they answer, they say oh we don't know anything yet, we don't know anything yet. We just got to wait and see but hopefully now with the administration, we'll get more vaccinations out to all of us," said Schultz.

Officials say for the upcoming week, they'll continue to vaccinate those in Phase 1A at the Wisconsin Center. They then say they'll hopefully be able to start providing vaccinations to the 65 and up group starting on February 1.

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