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MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced Tuesday that adults over the age of 65 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next Monday (Jan. 25). However, DHS officials cautioned that it will take time to vaccinate the approximately 700,000 Wisconsinites in this age category.
Frontline health care workers, residents in long-term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities), and police and fire personnel are among the groups that are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Wisconsin has been receiving about 70,000 first-dose vaccines per week from the federal government.
“Wisconsin systems and operations are ready to vaccinate more people. The amount of vaccine we get from the federal government will determine how quickly we can get these groups vaccinated. Our partners in health care, pharmacies and local public health are ready and up to the task,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said in a news release.
Vaccinations for adults, age 65 and older, have been recommended by the federal government and discussed by the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC). That’s because COVID-19 has more severe consequences in older adults and prioritizing this population will help protect more Wisconsinites from serious illness and death. The full recommendations from SDMAC on the rest of 1B eligibility will be voted on later this week.
The DHS reported that Wisconsinites (age 65+) will be able to access the vaccine through their health care provider, pharmacy, or local or tribal public health agency. Vaccinating entities with any COVID-19 vaccine on hand can begin to vaccinate this population prior to January 25 if they have concluded the previously eligible populations. Those being vaccinated directly through their health care provider will typically be contacted to schedule an appointment by their health care provider.
In addition to health care providers, and pharmacies, local health departments across the state may have options for community clinics. Wisconsin will add nine mobile vaccine units in the future that will work closely with local health departments to help address gaps in access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
As Wisconsin continues to expand vaccination efforts, COVID-19 has not gone away. Everyone is still encouraged to mask up, stay physically distant, and wash hands frequently to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep communities safe.
For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm