Governor Asks Federal Officials to Prioritize Wisconsin for COVID-19 Vaccine, Provide Additional $466 million

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday asked federal officials to prioritize Wisconsin for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, citing concerns about high case numbers, strained hospitals and a lack of statewide mitigation efforts.

He also sent a letter to President Donald Trump and the state’s congressional delegation Thursday saying that Wisconsin needs an additional $466 million for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, hospitals, vaccine distribution and public messaging for just the first quarter of 2021.

Wisconsin health officials on Wednesday said they expect to begin distributing vaccines in mid-December.

“Our current understanding based on what we have been told by CDC is we will receive 49,725 the first week vaccine is distributed (December 14), but that is subject to change,” said Elizabeth Goodsitt, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services. “We expect to get more shipments weekly to follow.”

The state’s COVID-19 response will cost $466 million in the first quarter of 2021, Evers said. That includes:

  • $255 million for testing kits and lab diagnostics
  • $58 million for testing sites
  • $36 million for contact tracing
  • $105 million for hospital system surge capacity including continued operation of the field hospital at State Fair Park
  • $10 million for vaccine infrastructure readiness
  • $2 million for public health guidance and awareness