MADISON – Starting March 29, Wisconsin residents with certain medical conditions will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the state Department of Health Services (DHS) announced Thursday.
The new eligibility group is based on guidelines that indicate individuals with medical conditions have an increased risk of severe illness if they contract the COVID-19 virus. Further, eying rapidly growing production of the three available vaccines, the DHS now anticipates that all Wisconsin residents will be eligible for the vaccine sometime in May.
The next eligibility group includes individuals age 16 and over with the following medical conditions:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from a 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 dementia
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
- Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
Therefore, individuals with the outlined medical conditions can access the COVID-19 vaccine through a variety of options, including community-based clinics, health care providers, Local and Tribal Health Departments, and pharmacies. Also, Wisconsinites with a primary care provider may hear directly from their provider. Visit the Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine options page or call the toll-free vaccine hotline at 1-844-684-1064 to learn more.
In the meantime, it is important to double-down on ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 due to emerging strains of the virus. Masking up, staying physically distant, washing hands, and getting tested continue to be crucial tools for protecting ourselves and our communities against COVID-19. Further, individuals who are fully vaccinated can review recently released post-vaccination guidance on the DHS website.