COVID-19: Who can get vaccinated

Important information

As of April 13, 2021, Wisconsin providers have paused giving the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. We have paused giving it because a very small number of people who got it had a very rare side effect – a blood clot.

I received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, what do I need to do?

  • Understand that these severe events are incredibly rare.
  • Monitor for the following symptoms up to three weeks after you vaccination: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. Symptoms associated with these severe events have occurred six to 13 days after receiving the vaccine.
  • If you develop any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.
  • Use the v-safe program to report your symptoms.

Everyone in Wisconsin ages 16 and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost. Although everyone is eligible to get vaccine, vaccine providers will prioritize previously eligible groups. Based on the amount of vaccine doses available, it will take time for everyone in Wisconsin to get vaccinated.

Every community is different. Some places may have longer waitlists than others. But everyone will eventually have the opportunity to get vaccinated.

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in people age 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for use in people age 18 and older. Learn more about the available vaccines.

Eligible groups in priority order

 Frontline health care personnel

According to the SDMAC’s guidance, the definition of frontline health care personnel is: “individuals who provide direct patient service (compensated and uncompensated) or engage in healthcare services that place them into contact with patients who are able to transmit SARS-CoV-2, and/or infectious material containing SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Vaccinating entities should follow SDMAC's prioritization criteria when vaccinating health care personnel.

Categories of health care job titles and settings include:

  • Anesthesia related team members
  • Behavior health providers, including psychologists, therapists, counselors
  • Certified nursing assistant, nursing assistant, nurse aide, medical assistant
  • Chiropractors
  • Clinical ethicist
  • Dental services, including dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistants
  • Direct care personnel, for example, people who provide direct care to patients, including in their homes (for example, personal care assistant; home health worker; adult day service providers; paid and unpaid caregivers in Family Care, Family Care Partnership, and IRIS; paid and unpaid caregivers of children in special needs programs, including Children’s Waivers, CCOP, B3, Children with Medical Complexity, CCF WAM and Katie Beckett Medicaid)
  • Emergency medical responders (EMR), including emergency medical technician/paramedic including all levels of EMRs
  • Environmental services, food & nutrition, buildings & grounds in patient care setting
  • Funeral home worker, coroners, and medical examiners
  • Health care trainees
  • Hospice workers
  • Massage therapists
  • Nurse, including community settings
  • Long-term care facility inspectors and oversight staff
  • Long-term care facility personnel (including those that work in 1-2 bed adult family homes and as supported living providers)
  • Pharmacist/pharmacist assistant
  • Phlebotomist and laboratory personnel
  • Physician assistant/nurse practitioners
  • Physicians (MD/DO – all settings)
  • Public health workers providing vaccines and testing for COVID-19
  • Radiation therapy technologists (RTTs)/radiologic technologists (RTs)
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Security personnel
  • Spiritual care provider - all clergy in any setting
  • Social work, case management, Child Life staff (only those providing in-person support, including child welfare workers and adult protective services)
  • Therapy services, for example, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy
  • Transportation services to and from health care settings, for example, testing sites, dialysis centers, ambulatory care
  • Other health care personnel who have CDC defined exposure
  • Other professionals and lay people who provide services as defined in “Vaccine Distribution Subcommittee: Phase 1A Guidance for Vaccinating Entities to Prioritize COVID-19 Vaccine in Priority Population”

 Residents and staff in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities

SDMAC’s definition of residents of long-term care is: “adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently.”

 Police and fire personnel, correctional staff

This includes police and fire personnel, including correctional workers.

Categories of job titles and settings include:

  • Correctional facility personnel
  • Probation and parole officers
  • DNR wardens

 Adults ages 65 and older

Starting January 25, adults ages 65 and older became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

 Educators and child care

Starting March 1, all staff in in education settings became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes:

  • All staff in regulated child care, public and private school programs, out-of-school time programs, virtual learning support, and community learning center programs.
  • All staff in Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs.
  • All staff in preschool and Head Start through K-12 education settings.
  • Faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact.

 Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs

Starting March 1, individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes:

Get tips for Medicaid long-term care program participants on making a vaccine appointment, arranging transportation, and staying healthy.

 Some public facing essential workers

Starting March 1, some public facing essential workers became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes:

 911 operators

 Utility and communications infrastructure

  • Workers who cannot socially distance and are responsible for the fundamental processes and facilities that ensure electric, natural gas, steam, water, wastewater, internet, and telecommunications services are built, maintained, generated, distributed, and delivered to customers.

 Public transit

  • Drivers who have frequent close contact with members of the public, limited to:
    • public and commercial intercity bus transportation services
    • municipal public transit services
    • those employed by specialized transit services for seniors, disabled persons, and low-income persons

 Food supply chain

  • Agricultural production workers, such as farm owners and other farm employees.
  • Critical workers who provide on-site support to multiple agricultural operations, such as livestock breeding and insemination providers, farm labor contractors, crop support providers, and livestock veterinarians.
  • Food production workers, such as dairy plant employees, fruit and vegetable processing plant employees, and animal slaughtering and processing employees.
  • Retail food workers, such as employees at grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations that also sell groceries.
  • Hunger relief personnel, including people involved in charitable food distribution, community food and housing providers, social services employees who are involved in food distribution, and emergency relief workers.
  • Restaurant workers.

 Non-frontline essential health care personnel

Starting March 1, non-frontline essential health care personnel became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. SDMAC defines non-frontline essential health care personnel as personnel who are not involved in direct patient care but are essential for health system infrastructure. These staff are often affiliated with hospitals, but non-hospital employee non-frontline employees are also included.

Categories of non-frontline essential health care personnel job titles and settings include:

  • Public health
  • Emergency management
  • Cyber security
  • Health care critical supply chain functions, including the production, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccine
  • Support roles, such as cleaning, HVAC, and refrigeration, critical to health system function

 Congregate living facility staff and residents

Starting March 1, staff and residents of congregate living facilities became eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Some settings in this group may be non-voluntary or provide services to marginalized populations - meaning residents do not have the resources or choice to mitigate exposure. Congregate living facility staff and residents include the following:

  • Employer-based housing: Housing provided by an employer for three or more unrelated individuals that share bedrooms.
  • Housing serving the elderly or people with disabilities: Residents of housing that meets the definitions of an adult family home, independent living apartments, community-based residential facility, residential care complex, state center for the disabled, mental health institute, and county-based center for the disabled.
  • Shelters: Shelter provided to those who are homeless and/or in need of protection (for example, domestic violence shelters).
  • Transitional housing: A project that is designed to provide housing and appropriate supportive services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living when such facilities include shared bedrooms.
  • Incarcerated individuals: Individuals in jails, prisons, and mental health institutes.

 Individuals with certain medical conditions

On March 22, individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions that have a greater risk of severe infection from COVID-19 became eligible. The decision was based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is supported by Wisconsin’s medical experts.

Eligibility includes individuals with the following conditions:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions, such as intellectual disabilities and dementia
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

Please note the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in people age 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for use in people age 18 and older

 All individuals ages 16 and older

All individuals ages 16 and older became eligible for the vaccine on April 5. Remember vaccine providers will prioritize previously eligible groups before vaccinating this group.

Please note the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in people age 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for use in people age 18 and older

 

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Wisconsin has over 2,000 COVID-19 registered vaccinators across the state. Much like your flu vaccine, there are options for where you get your COVID-19 vaccine. People can be vaccinated at many places including: health care providers, pharmacies, local health departments, places of employment, and community-based vaccination sites. Local health departments are coordinating many of the local options.

 

Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Call 844-684-1064 (toll-free).

Spanish, Hmong, Chinese Mandarin, Hindi, and Somali language assistance is available.

  • ¿Tiene preguntas sobre la vacuna contra el COVID-19? Llame al 844-684-1064 (llamada gratuita).
  • Muaj lus nug txog qhov tshuaj tiv thaiv COVID-19? Hu rau 844-684-1064 (tus xov tooj hu dawb).
  • 对 COVID-19 疫苗是否有任何疑问?请致电 844-684-1064(通话免费).
  • COVID-19 वैक्सीन के बारे में कुछ सवाल है? 844-684-1064 (टोल फ्री) पर कॉल करें।
  • Wixii su'aalo ku saabsan tallaalka COVID-19? Soo garaac 844-684-1064 (lacag-la'aan).

Frequently asked questions about who can get the COVID-19 vaccine

General

Why are some eligible groups prioritized before others?

Although everyone age 16 and older is eligible to get the vaccine in Wisconsin, vaccinators will prioritize previously eligible groups before others. Vaccinators may target specific groups of people with a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, such as adults age 65 and older or individuals with certain medical conditions.

Does DHS provide letters validating eligibility for specific employers?

No, DHS does not provide letters validating eligibility for specific employers. Eligible individuals are encouraged to provide proof of their employment status that qualifies them to receive vaccine, or to complete an attestation form (a form saying you are attesting that you are eligible) at the vaccination site.

Will people who have already had COVID-19 be able to get the vaccine?

Yes. As long as they have recovered from the acute illness and are no longer in isolation, they can get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Which vaccines are available for eligible people aged 16 years and older?

The Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in people aged 16 years and older by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for use in in individuals aged 18 years and older. Learn more about available vaccines on our safety and efficacy webpage.

What can I do while I wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing you from getting sick with COVID-19, and medical experts are still learning about if whether vaccinated people can spread COVID-19. In order for vaccines to be able to protect us, we need to make it easier for the vaccine to do its job in the future by giving the virus less opportunity to mutate.

Vaccines are just one tool we have to stop the spread of COVID-19. Stopping the spread also requires that we continue staying home, wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and frequently washing your hands. Together, vaccination and good public health behaviors will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Eligibility

I am undocumented. Can I get the vaccine?

Yes, even if you cannot provide proof of residency or state identification. No one who lives, works, or studies in Wisconsin will be turned away from a vaccination site.

President Biden has stated that all people in the U.S. – regardless of their immigration status – will be able to get vaccinated at no cost. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also supports this and is committed to ensuring that every individual who needs a vaccine can get one regardless of their immigration status.

Do I need to be a permanent resident of Wisconsin to get the vaccine in Wisconsin?

The Department of Health Services’ agreement with CDC requires us to “distribute or administer vaccine without discriminating on non-public-health grounds within a prioritized group.” DHS has determined that in order to protect the public health of the residents of Wisconsin, vaccine allocated to the state should be administered to those who live, work, or study in Wisconsin. Vaccinators may target their vaccination effort to residents of their particular jurisdiction or constituency, however, may not turn someone away who lives, works, or studies in Wisconsin.

When can my child be vaccinated?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorizations for both the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for use in adults and older teens. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine are authorized for people ages 18 years and older, and the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in people ages 16 years and older.

Pfizer and Moderna started clinical trials in late 2020 to see how safe and effective their vaccines are for children ages 12 years and older.

Eligible groups

Are school board members eligible at the same time early childhood, child care centers, and K-12 schools are eligible?

No, only staff from the school and child care center are eligible as part of the education and child care eligibility group. School board members are not typically school or child care employees. School board members are eligible as members of the general public ages 16 and older, and may be prioritized as such.

Are student and substitute teachers included under the educators and child care group?

Yes. All staff in public and private school programs are included in this group.

Are higher education students doing practicums in child care, K-12 school buildings, or those required to complete time in the classroom who are not traditional student teachers included in under education and child care as of March 1?

Yes, all staff in public and private school programs are included in this group.

Are coaches eligible under education and child care as of March 1?

Yes, all staff in public and private school programs are included in this group.

What is considered "regulated" child care?

Regulated child care is that which is regulated under the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). Vaccine providers are being encouraged to review the lists of licensed child care providers and certified child care providers maintained on the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website to facilitate their efforts in vaccinating these populations.

Are the employees who work in back-office functions of some previously eligible groups (for example: utility, public transit, food supply) also included in previous eligibility groups?

Those who are at significant risk due to public-facing positions or working conditions that require close contact with others with considerations of frequency, intensity, and duration of contact, and ability to mitigate, may be prioritized to receive vaccine.

My organization performs a function that was deemed critical by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or is defined as critical infrastructure by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. Am I eligible to receive the vaccine under this eligibility group?

We worked through a public process to prioritize populations to receive vaccine. For that reason, the priority order of eligible groups does not always overlap with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency lists.

Are people that produce food packaging prioritized to receive the vaccine as part of the some public facing workers eligibility group?

No, individuals that produce food packaging are not prioritized to receive vaccine as part of this group but may get vaccine as part of the general public.

Are in-person staff (for example: nursing home inspectors or OSHA compliance officers) that provide oversight or are required by law or regulation to inspect work sites or residences of currently prioritized to receive the vaccine?

Yes, mandated oversight functions that conduct their work on-site and in-person are prioritized to receive vaccine at the same time the industry they oversee is eligible.

Are all veterinarians prioritized to receive the vaccine as part of the food chain supply eligible group? Or are only livestock veterinarians eligible in the next eligible group?

Only livestock veterinarians who care for animals specifically as part of the "food chain supply" category are prioritized to receive vaccine. General veterinarians may get the vaccine as part of the general public.

Do landlords fall under congregate living group to be vaccinated?

No. Landlords are not included under congregate living groups.

May food delivery drivers be prioritized for vaccine as restaurant workers (for example, Door Dash) ?

Yes.

Are members of the media eligible under utility communications infrastructure?

No, at this time members of the media are not prioritized to receive vaccine as part of this group unless they are eligible under another criteria.

What group are public defenders in?

Public defenders with work that brings them into congregate settings or necessarily places them in close contact of less than 6 feet with clients placed in congregate living settings are part of the "Congregate Living Facility Staff and Residents" group. This also includes other criminal justice and court system professionals, including judges, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, victim witness coordinators, court clerks, and others essential to in-person criminal court proceedings. Those who can work from home are asked to delay vaccination until April 5 or until supply is robust.

When did people with an intellectual disability become eligible for the vaccine?

On March 22, individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions like neurologic conditions, such as intellectual disabilities and dementia, became eligible.

Are spiritual care providers eligible to receive vaccine under frontline health care personnel?

Yes.

Last Revised: April 21, 2021