WED AM News: DHS awaits FDA approval of Pfizer for ages 12 and up, launches program to connect businesses with vaccine clinics

— The state health department is “eagerly awaiting” FDA approval of a vaccine for kids 12-15 as the teenage demographic continues to lead in Wisconsin COVID case counts.

The FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer shot for children 12 to 15 years old, a decision that could come early next week, according to national reports. The vaccine is currently authorized for people age 16 and older.

The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, said the full set of data in clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine in children hasn’t been published. But a summary of the data suggests the results were highly effective. 

“In general, we did not hear that there was any safety concerns,” he said. “In general, with many vaccines, younger people — children and adolescents — tend to mount very robust and very effective immune responses to vaccines.”

The Department of Health Services is ready to follow whatever guidance the FDA provides if it does issue an emergency use authorization, Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said.

“We are eagerly awaiting the Federal Drug Administration’s assessment of the Pfizer application for 12 to 15 year olds,” she said.

Read the full story at 

— DHS is launching a new program to connect employers and community organizations directly with vaccinators for onsite or pop-up vaccine clinics.

Interested businesses or organizations can go to and click on “partner resources” to learn more. 

— The Wisconsin Hospital Association’s coronavirus dashboard has logged 1 million views in just over a year since it launched in April 2020. 

In those 13 months, the dashboard has averaged 2,589 views per day.

The WHA Information Center’s dashboard draws upon information from Wisconsin’s seven Health Care Emergency Readiness Coalitions and translates the data into visualizations of COVID-19 hospitalization, testing, case, death and supply capacity data. 

“The Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center made a commitment very early in the pandemic to put data to good use in our state’s fight against COVID-19,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding.

See the dashboard:

— SSM Health is inviting organizations in the Madison area to honor health care workers, first responders and others with a moment of silence on Monday at 10 a.m.

The occasion will kick off National Hospital and Health Care Week by showing appreciation for those who have supported others during the pandemic. 

Join the effort: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has appointed three people to the DATCP Board, giving him a majority of the picks that sit on the body that makes ag policy.

In the past week, Evers’ appointees have also become a majority of the UW Board of Regents and the Natural Resources Board.

Two of Evers’ picks for the DATCP Board are reappointments. He originally put Doug Rebout, a partner in Roger Rebout & Sons Farms near Janesville, on the board in July.

The other reappointment by Evers is a former GOP Gov. Scott Walker appointee from 2015 — Paul Palmby, president and CEO at Seneca Foods Corp. Palmby also sits on the board of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

Evers also appointed Dr. Clare Hintz, who runs a solar-powered farm near the south shore of Lake Superior in Herbster. She’s also the editor of the Journal of Sustainability Education. Hintz replaces Kurt Hallstrand, president of North Central Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, appointed by Walker in 2017.

Six of the nine members are now Evers appointees.

See the release:

— The Alliant Energy Center will be the first in the conventions and event industry in Wisconsin to deploy needlepoint bipolar ionization technologies in all indoor facilities.

The technology delivers safer, cleaner indoor air by reducing harmful particles and pathogens like mold, bacteria, allergens and viruses. Needlepoint bipolar ionization works by leveraging an electronic charge to create a high concentration of positive and negative ions. These ions travel through the air continuously attaching to particles, and as these particles become larger, they are eliminated from the air more rapidly.

The process is highly effective in eliminating disease-causing pathogens, such as those responsible for COVID-19, according to the Alliant Energy Center’s release.

“Our NPBI technology ensures an additional layer of cleanliness and enhances the already-robust cleaning practices in place at the Center,” said Brent Kyzer-McHenry, executive director.  “The health and well-being of our guests and employees is our top priority.”

— UW-Green Bay is searching nationwide for a new athletic director.

Chancellor Michael Alexander confirmed yesterday that Athletic Director Charles Guthrie is leaving his role for an athletic director position at Akron University in Ohio. Guthrie has served as athletic director at UW-Green Bay since October 2017.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to partner and collaborate with Chancellor Alexander, the leadership team and the campus community,” Guthrie said. “I will miss this tremendous community of student-athletes, coaches, staff and faculty.”

Deputy Director of Athletics Jermaine Rolle will serve as interim athletic director until Guthrie’s  successor is named.

— Taxes are due in less than two weeks. The state’s tax season was extended to May 17 this year due to COVID-19. 

To date, 2.55 million tax filers submitted returns out of an expected 3 million. 

People can use the Wisconsin e-file online tool to file their state income taxes or an approved third-party vendor. 

The Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to submit questions online: Or call the customer service line at (608) 266-2486.

— RSVP for the May 20 virtual event: ‘Summer Tourism Outlook: How will Wisconsin take advantage of a post-pandemic visitor surge?’

After more than a year of what felt like hibernation, a COVID-19 vaccine is giving people hope for brighter days — and a reason to get back to travel. Wisconsin boasts 15,000+ lakes, 60,000+ acres of state parks and a bounty of tourism attractions statewide. This gives locals and out-of-staters a reason to explore the Badger State this summer. Perhaps there’s even an opportunity for Wisconsin to take advantage of a post-pandemic surge. 

Join May 20 for a virtual lunch hour event featuring three tourism leaders — Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers, Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Bill Elliott and Association of Wisconsin Tourism Attractions President Tom Diehl. The trio will discuss the state of the tourism industry in Wisconsin and how the political, health and economic climates may influence what Wisconsin’s robust tourism industry will look like this summer.

The program is set to run via webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 20.

The event will begin with a moderated panel discussion and then shift to questions from the audience.

We will send you a link to access the webinar on the morning of the event.

This event is sponsored by Madison Gas and Electric Company, University Research Park, Wisconsin Technology Council and The Phelps Hamus Group.


See a recent story on the tourism industry’s workforce: 


# Harris touts research during first Wisconsin trip

# Vice President Harris Visits Milwaukee To Promote Administration’s Infrastructure Plan

# Wisconsin potato planting is ahead of schedule 



– May is Beef Month in Wisconsin!


– ‘The middle of a massive contamination’: Residents of Wisconsin region struggle with aftereffects of dangerous ‘forever chemicals’


– Wisconsin passes 600,000 Covid-19 cases, while up to 2,000 vaccine doses are lost per week


– Wisconsin’s worker shortage intensifies, businesses offer pay bumps and bonuses to fill jobs


– Milwaukee council approves $750,000 settlement with former Bucks player Sterling Brown in police misconduct lawsuit

– Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds man’s gun conviction

– Wauwatosa Police Chief Testifies In Ongoing Case Against Former Officer Joseph Mensah


– Council approves Milwaukee Tool grant that could bring more than 1K jobs to city


– Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in Milwaukee, where she tours UW-Milwaukee labs and joins roundtable discussion during Tuesday visit

– VP Harris trip to Wisconsin draws Republican criticism


– After nine years on the drawing board, here’s what the $188M Couture will look like


 – Over 300 shots fired at Midtown Center gathering, injuring two, capping violent weekend in Milwaukee


– There’s still time to enter and win a bottle opener made from an old Miller Park sign


– Froedtert Health joins MKE Tech Hub Coalition with $100,000 annual pledge


– Dane County tops the state for 2020 tourism losses


– Madison could consider mostly cashless, account-based system for bus fares


– DBA Advocating For Cover Crop Rebate 


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

– Lowlands Group: Launches 2021 patio season

– Alliant Energy Center: Adds technology to enhance cleanliness

– Thedacare: Walk-in appointments available at multiple locations

– Better Business Bureau: Provides tips for successful Small Business Week