Some Wisconsin health-care workers, long-term care residents could get vaccines this month
Others will have to wait until summer or fall — and New York Times tool can help you compute where you land in line
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Wisconsin health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities could receive their initial COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this month, but most will have to wait months, a state health official said Monday.
Coincidentally, The New York Times came up with a tool it published during the weekend that people can use to guesstimate where they might land in line to get their shots. What better way to while away quarantine time than figuring out how long you might have to wait?
The state expects to receive about 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for health-care workers and long-term care residents this month, Wisconsin Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said Monday.
That statement contradicted rumors circulating last week that nearly 50,000 vaccines had been delivered to Pfizer’s Pleasant Prairie facility.
People over 65 and those with underlying health conditions probably will receive the next batch of doses, Willems Van Dijk said. But the general population probably won’t be immunized until late summer or early next fall.
Enter the NYT tool, which staffers developed in conjunction with the Surgo Foundation, which describes itself as a privately funded action tank, and Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The tool can calculate the number of people who will need a vaccine in each state and county — and where individuals might land in line, according to an NYT Op-Ed story.
The tool asks users to enter their ages and counties in which they live, as well as their professions, listed as health-care worker, essential worker, first responder or none of those. It also asks whether they have any COVID-19 health risks, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity or other immune-compromised conditions.
For example, a 50-year-old teacher in La Crosse County with no particular health risks might expect to be in line behind 135.7 million others across the country, the tool computes. Among Wisconsin residents, the teacher might be behind 2.4 million others who are at higher risk in the Badger State. In La Crosse County, the teacher would be behind 51,800 other people.
The line remains the same for a 40-year-old teacher, but a 65-year-old teacher would be able to cut in front thousands and millions, for example, with a mere 118.5 million people in front of the teacher nationwide, behind only 2.1 million in Wisconsin and a mere 43,900 in La Crosse County.
And a 50-year-old teacher with a health risk could really leap ahead, with just 23 million people ahead nationally, 424,500 statewide and only 13,200 in La Crosse County.
“These are just estimates and the line may ultimately be shorter,” The New York Times notes. “The order isn’t yet finalized and children could be skipped entirely if the vaccine isn’t approved for people under 18.”
But the tool does help convey the massive inoculation task ahead.
Fortunately, people will be able to schedule when they get their shots instead of standing in line. Consider this, just for the heckuvit: If you’re behind 135.7 million people, all standing at the 6-foot physical distance apart for safety, the line would be 154,545.5 miles long.
Of course, that’s silly, but illustrative. That’s more than twice the distance from Earth to Mars, at 65.275 million miles, and vastly more than the distance from Earth to the Sun, which is roughly 91.6 million miles,