One in two Dane County residents has gotten one vaccine dose, one in three have completed series

B.1.1.7 variant of concern may now be dominant strain

MADISON, Wis. – More than half of Dane County residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. About a third have completed the series, either by getting both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As of Thursday, 50.7% of people were partially vaccinated and 33.4% were fully vaccinated in the county. Those percentages include children under 16, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine in Wisconsin, through trials are underway.

“We are amongst the leading counties in Wisconsin for vaccinations, and this will help us return to normal,” Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janel Heinrich said.

On the way to “normal,” Dane County ranks third in the state for percent of people who have gotten at least one shot, according to current state data, and ties for sixth for percent of people who have completed the vaccine series.

Distribution is speeding up, too. According to PHMDC’s latest data snapshot, an average of nearly 7,300 first and second doses were given to Dane County residents each day during the latest 14-day period, which is an 18% increase since last week.

Just a month ago, a PHMDC snapshot from March 11 shows 22.6% of Dane County’s population had gotten one dose with 14.5% completely vaccinated.

Of the eligible Dane County population, 62% of people have gotten at least one vaccine dose. If the current pace continues, PHMDC guesses that 80% of the eligible population could get at least one shot by May 8.

PHDMC currently estimates getting to herd immunity will take 60 to 90% of the total population being vaccinated, though that threshold may be at the higher end of that range depending on the more transmissible variants.

Its latest data snapshot said that variants are increasing in prevalence and “it’s possible the B.1.1.7 variant of concern is now the dominant strain in Dane County.”

“The more vaccination coverage we have across Dane county and across the state, the harder it will be for these variants to get a foothold in our community,” Heinrich said. “Though our overall COVID profile is not changing significantly, it is not going in the right direction, and it’s starting to look a little different in Dane County.”

Heinrich said in the past two weeks, 21% of all new COVID diagnoses have been in those under 18.

“In comparison to the entire duration of the pandemic, where we saw those under 18 representing only 13% of the cases,” she said.

That’s not just because more adults are vaccinated.

“We are also seeing a higher number, not just percent, of cases in the 12 to 17 age group,” Heinrich said.

PHMDC data also shows COVID-19 cases on the rise in adults 18-59, particularly among those 50-59.

UW Health Dr. Jim Conway says vaccinating children when the time is right will be necessary to eliminate the disease for good.

“As we gradually get to 50, 60, 70% of the population immunized, we do hope to loosen mitigation activities further,” Conway said. “But for now, I think everybody needs to continue to practice all the mitigation that we’ve been doing while we wait for the vaccine to be ready for all these age groups.”

“Though vaccines will get us back to normal, our children don’t have that opportunity,” Heinrich said. “So it’s very important to continue to follow the prevention practices that have kept us well and will continue to keep us well.”

Heinrich said that it may be easier to get an appointment in the near future, too, now that PHMDC has cleared their list of people who have signed up.

“So if you sign up today, your chances of getting a vaccine in the next week or two are very good,” she said, adding that they have more than 7,000 Pfizer doses to give next week, which are approved for 16 and 17-year-olds.

Those interested in scheduling an appointment can sign up here on Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccine registry.