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Wisconsin health officials concerned about drop in COVID-19 vaccinations

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(WKOW) -- Wisconsin health officials say fewer people are seeking COVID-19 vaccinations, and more doses are going to waste.

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports as of Tuesday, 43.5% of the state's population had received at least one shot, and just under 35% were fully vaccinated.

When vaccinations first began, hundreds of doses were lost each week. Deputy state health secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said that now between 1,000 and 2,000 doses are lost a week.

Willems Van Dijk said the chances of doses being lost increases as demand slows. Because the coronavirus vaccines are stored in multi-dose vials in special refrigerators, vaccinators only have so much time to utilize those doses before they expire.

Doctors tell 27 News that state health officials directed them to utilize as many doses as possible, but not to worry about letting some go. UW Health's Senior Medical Director of Primary Care Dr. Matt Anderson said it is more important to make sure every person who wants a COVID-19 vaccination receives one.

"If you have to open a vial to vaccinate one individual or two individuals and you might waste three or four, do everything that you can to avoid that wastage," Dr. Anderson said. "But right now, where we're at in the pandemic, and where we're at in the vaccination effort, it's more important to make sure that we get that individual vaccinated."

Willems Van Dijk said Tuesday the multi-dose vaccine vials will be their biggest challenge moving forward with vaccination efforts.

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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