The first shipments of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine are making their way to eight distribution hubs across the state.
Those shipments contain enough vaccines to vaccinate nearly 50,000 health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.
Julie Willems Van Dijk, Wisconsin's Department of Health Services’ Deputy Secretary, said healthcare providers will begin receiving Pfizer’s vaccine imminently.
“In the coming months, starting as soon as today, we will begin providing vaccines to Wisconsinites,” she said.
With more than 400,000 healthcare workers across the state, the arrival or Pfizer’s vaccine marks the start of a long road of inoculations.
Along with health care workers, residents and staff of nursing homes can begin receiving vaccines in two weeks, following federal requirements.
More shipments of vaccines are expected to arrive in the weeks and months to come, including Moderna’s vaccine, which is expected to gain FDA approval later this week.
Van Dijk said Moderna’s vaccine will be more accessible to rural communities.
“That second type of vaccine will make it a little bit easier in terms of distribution," she said. "Particularly to rural areas of the state that might be a fair distance from one of our hub sites with the sub-zero refrigeration system.”
For now, the general public must continue to wait to be vaccinated.
When the vaccine is more widely available, it will be free to everyone.
“As I like to say, it’s prepaid with you tax dollars. The federal government has purchased this vaccine for the residents of the United States,” Van Dijk said.
In the meantime, she said, social distancing and wearing masks are more important than ever.