Groups Now Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine
As of today, March 1, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announces the following groups are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (in priority order):
- Frontline health care personnel
- Residents of long-term care
- Police and fire personnel, correctional staff
- Adults age 65 and older
- Education and child care staff
- Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
- Some public-facing essential workers such as 911 operators, public transit, and grocery store employees
- Non-frontline essential health care personnel
- Facility staff and residents of congregate living settings
While groups are prioritized, all the people who are listed in these groups are eligible as of today. More information about these eligibility groups and where to find available vaccine is available on the DHS vaccine webpage. Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in COVID-19 vaccine administration.
“We are protecting Wisconsinites from COVID-19 by distributing vaccine as safely, quickly, and equitably as possible. We are working our way toward our goal of vaccinating 80% of the eligible residents of our state. The best way to meet that goal is to continue getting shots in arms,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake. “Based on our current pace, and with increases in the federal vaccine supply, opening up eligibility to groups of people with higher risk of exposure gets us one step closer to bouncing back from this pandemic.”
In working with vaccinators to distribute and administer the vaccine allocated to Wisconsin, DHS is prioritizing vaccine for everyone who is currently eligible. This includes adults age 65 and older, as well as education and child care staff, to ensure these groups have the opportunity to get vaccinated quickly. DHS anticipates that these priority groups will be vaccinated by early April. In order to ensure K-12 education and child care staff get vaccinated in this timeline, local and tribal health departments are coordinating local-specific plans for these groups. While vaccine distribution will focus on certain eligible groups, anyone in an eligible group can get vaccinated.
Since adults age 65 and older became eligible for the vaccine on January 25, over 54% have received at least the first dose of the vaccine. While there is currently not enough vaccine available to vaccinate everyone who is eligible immediately, expanding eligibility allows vaccine providers to plan ahead and continue moving forward with vaccinations.
DHS continues its effort of providing resources that will help eligible groups find and connect with vaccine providers in their local communities. The Wisconsin COVID-19 map of vaccine providers displays current vaccine providers, including health care, pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, community-based vaccination clinics, and local pharmacies. All sites shown on the map require pre-scheduled appointments, and availability is not guaranteed. For more information on all available COVID-19 vaccination options, visit the DHS COVID-19: Where can I get vaccinated? page.
Additionally, the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry will serve as a central resource for people to schedule a vaccination appointment. DHS community-based vaccination clinics are in the early stages of rolling out the system along with a few counties to secure appointments for currently eligible populations on a waitlist in those counties. DHS is working closely with counties to ensure the vaccine registry meets local needs and has made adjustments based on site feedback. The vaccine registry is an optional resource to all vaccine providers; therefore, not all vaccine providers are using this tool. For a list of participating counties, and information on counties where the vaccine registry is currently available, visit the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry page. DHS will update this list with additional counties and providers as they join and begin scheduling appointments.
For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage. You can also follow DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, and dhs.wi on Instagram.