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Evers calls on feds for more vaccine; faces criticism for slow rollout

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Dr. Ann Sheehy, UW Health Hospitals, who treats COVID-19 patients was the third health care worker to receive the vaccine.

MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says this week was the first in which demand for doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will exceed its supply.

The announcement came as Republicans continued to criticize the Evers administration for a vaccine rollout that has lagged behind most states in the Midwest.

Evers said the state needs 10,000 more doses of the vaccine in order to meet requests from the state's vaccinating entities.

“Our vaccine team is working across the state on vaccine distribution, and so many Wisconsinites are ready to get vaccinated and get back to our Wisconsin way of life,” said Evers in a statement. “In a state where our statewide mitigation strategies have been struck down and challenged time and time again, it is absolutely critical that Wisconsin get additional doses of vaccine to meet demand and box in the virus.”

Evers' statement said about 550,000 Wisconsinites qualify under Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which includes healthcare workers and residents and employees at nursing homes.

The release said The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC) will on Wednesday release its recommendations for who should be in Phase 1B.

“We are eager to open up eligibility to more Wisconsinites but need the federal government in order to do that," said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. "We stand ready to vaccinate more and more folks every week but we need more vaccine.”

Evers' call came on the same day Rep. Bryan Steil (R - Janesville) blasted the administration's handling of the rollout. In a statement, Steil said he was unsatisfied with the response he got from Evers after requesting more details about the state's vaccination plan.

“Governor Evers’ letter is a pathetic excuse for a response. These bureaucratic answers display a stunning lack of urgency in getting people the life-saving help they need," Steil's statement read. "If Governor Evers cannot figure out how to distribute the vaccine to those who need it, he should step aside and let someone who can lead this effort do it."

As of Monday, 19 states had worse rates of vaccine distribution per 100,000 than Wisconsin according to a CDC tracker. Among midwestern states, only Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois had lower rates than Wisconsin.

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