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UW-Madison receives its first COVID-19 vaccines
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UW-Madison receives its first COVID-19 vaccines

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Getting shot ready

Susan Johnston, pharmacy manager for UW Health's Pharmaceutical Research Center, prepares a shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

UW-Madison received its first COVID-19 vaccines on Monday and plans to begin inoculating some employees as soon as Tuesday.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank told a faculty committee that the university received about 1,000 doses and expects to receive another 1,000 next week. These should cover the roughly 2,000 students and employees included in the group that has first priority for a shot.

The group includes health care workers and employees in direct contact with COVID-19 patients or who have direct contact with the virus. Some examples of eligible individuals on campus include students in clinical settings, some University Health Services staff and staff who administer COVID-19 tests, Blank said.

Widespread vaccine availability on campus is still several months away. Individuals eligible for the vaccine will receive information by email.

UW-Madison currently has the capacity to vaccinate about 300 people per day, she said. As vaccination efforts ramp up, the university may consider contracting with an outside vendor to scale up the number of vaccinations it can administer.

The university received Moderna vaccines, spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said. Moderna vaccines can be stored in regular freezers unlike the Pfizer vaccines that require ultra-cold storage.

She declined to explain what processes UW-Madison has in place to avoid a situation like the one at a hospital in Grafton, where a pharmacist is suspected of intentionally spoiling 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

“We don’t discuss specifics of security but are comfortable with our practices and protocols to safeguard the vaccine,” McGlone said.

As of Dec. 29, 47,157 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered statewide, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The agency last week approved University Health Services vaccinating its own members of the campus community under the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

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