WISCONSIN ― New reporting in the Washington Post is highlighting how Wisconsin’s vaccine distribution program serves as a model best practice despite the difficulties the state faced in combatting the virus in the fall of 2020.
The piece credits Andrea Palm, who served as the Secretary-designee for Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services before being nominated as President Biden’s Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, with laying the groundwork for a successful vaccine program in Wisconsin. According to the Post’s reporting, Palm’s experience in organizing the state’s COVID-19 response leaves her well-equipped to lead in Washington.
“Wisconsin offers lessons for the nation that go beyond its approach to coronavirus vaccinations. The state also shows how expertise can win out in spite of partisanship — a lesson Palm, a veteran of the Obama administration, will likely carry with her back to Washington. If confirmed by the Senate, she will help steer federal health policy during a period of intense polarization.”
Palm was a long-time target of Wisconsin Republicans, but the state’s success in administering vaccines has left many of her most vocal critics largely silent.
“The turnaround of Wisconsin’s immunization drive has left state Republicans noticeably quiet, a contrast with their year-long war against their Democratic governor’s response to the pandemic, which culminated Wednesday in the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s invalidation of Evers’ mask mandate. The GOP-led legislature that threatened for months to fire Palm by calling up her still-pending nomination and quickly voting her down has gone silent on her record.’
As Palm’s critics have gone silent, others have recognized the crucial role her leadership played throughout the pandemic.
“health-care leaders said Palm, who has served in her role since January 2019, deserves credit for assembling a skilled team with more intimate knowledge of the state’s public health system.”
“‘Andrea really set us up for success in Wisconsin as a national leader getting people vaccinated quickly, and I give her a tremendous amount of credit for where we are today,’ said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).”
Palm is expected to appear before the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing on her nomination this month.
You can read the full-text of the Washington Post piece here.