EAU CLAIRE — Just over 13% of Eau Claire County residents have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data released today.
Just over 4% of county residents have received both doses.
The county is doing slightly better than the state average; as of Thursday about 11% of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Eau Claire County is vaccinating more quickly than other parts of the state, but it’s still suffering from limited supply, said Lieske Giese, director of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.
The Eau Claire City-County Health Department received just 20% of the vaccine doses it asked for this week, Giese said at a Thursday news conference.
Chippewa Valley vaccinators, including local hospitals, also “have gotten significantly less, closer to 20%, of the doses they’ve asked for,” Giese said.
Demand is outpacing supply all across Wisconsin, state health officials have said.
“We are getting vaccines in Eau Claire, but it’s not sufficient to meet the need of the 65 and older population, or all others that are currently eligible,” Giese said. “ … We know that an efficient way to get vaccines in arms is to do bigger vaccine clinics. We’re prioritizing that locally.”
Some patients are inadvertently slowing down the process.
Local providers are struggling with people who aren’t showing up to their vaccine appointments, Giese said.
“We are hearing from providers across Eau Claire County that individuals are not showing up to their appointments because they made appointments at a variety of places, and are not canceling their (other) appointments,” Giese said. “Please make one appointment, choose your route to get vaccinated, and show up.”
“All vaccine providers are struggling a bit with this right now,” she added. “We have limited vaccine. Please make one appointment and show up, so we can get that vaccine in arms.”
About 18,800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Eau Claire County residents as of Thursday. Around 14,000 of those are first doses.
The Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart; the two doses of the Moderna vaccine must be given four weeks apart. So the 4,600 or so county residents who have gotten both doses already are mostly health care workers, Giese said.
Iron County, in northern Wisconsin, is leading the state in vaccination rates; 18.5% of its residents have gotten at least one dose.
Coming in last is Rusk County, with about 6% of its residents having received at least one dose.
Chippewa County, where 13% of residents have gotten at least one dose, is in line with Eau Claire County. Dunn County is further behind; just under 8% of the county has received at least one dose.
The state announced this week that almost one-third of Wisconsin residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Local Walgreens to receive some doses
Nearly 200 Walgreens locations across the state, including two stores in Eau Claire, will be allotted small numbers of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state announced Thursday.
The Walgreens stores won’t get the vaccine doses through the state, but directly from the federal government instead, said Julie Willems Van Dijk, state health deputy secretary.
For the first week, the 178 Walgreens stores in Wisconsin will get a total 17,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine, the DHS said Thursday in a news release.
That means a “high percentage” of Wisconsin Walgreens locations will have small amounts of the vaccine, but not all will, said Dr. Stephanie Schauer, director of the Wisconsin Immunization Program, at a Thursday news conference.
“ … Each store will only have a very limited number of doses,” Schauer said. “Nevertheless, it’s a great opportunity that we have.”
Giese confirmed Thursday that the two Walgreens stores in Eau Claire, one at 1819 S. Hastings Way and another at 1106 W. Clairemont Ave., will get doses of the vaccine.
Those doses won’t be available to the general public. Walgreens will only administer the vaccine to people who are currently eligible in Wisconsin. As of now, those people are anyone 65 and older, health care workers, first responders and EMS and residents of long-term care and skilled nursing facilities.
The next groups eligible to get the vaccine, tentatively starting March 1, will be teachers, grocery store workers, food chain workers, some non-frontline health care workers and people in prisons.
To sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Walgreens, visit the store’s website at tinyurl.com/1awi07zb.
If people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine can’t access a computer, they can call the Eau Claire County COVID-19 hotline at (715) 831-7425.