The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in Wisconsin this week with an initial shipment of 16,000 doses as state health officials plan to receive a total of 100,000 doses in the upcoming weeks, Gov. Tony Evers announced today.

“Folks, this is exciting news. The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool we need to battle this pandemic,” said Gov. Evers in a statement. “While we do not have control over how much vaccine the federal government allocates to our state, I can promise that we are doing everything we can to ensure that our distribution is fair and equitable.”

Unlike the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in normal freezers, which allows the vaccine to be shipped directly to vaccinating entities across Wisconsin.

Gov. Evers and DHS have activated the federal government’s long-term care pharmacy distribution program to provide on-site vaccination for Wisconsin’s long-term care residents and staff, according to a press release. A portion, 29,000 doses, of the Moderna allocation will be reserved in order to begin vaccinating Wisconsinites in this program. The program is set to begin on Dec. 28.

“I know that many people are wanting to get vaccinated and we are asking everyone to be patient,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm in a statement. “As we continue to make progress vaccinating our health care workers and long-term care residents, we will need the federal government to increase our supply so we can efficiently expand our efforts to include additional populations. As we vaccinate more Wisconsinites, we must all continue practicing the preventive measures we know work. Please stay home, wear a mask, and keep physical distance from others.”