DHS announces groups eligible for COVID-19 vaccine tentatively beginning March 1
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Tuesday, Jan. 26 announced groups that will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine tentatively beginning March 1, 2021. The groups in priority order include education and child care, individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline health care essential personnel, and facility staff and residents in congregate living settings, according to a release from DHS.
“Groups are being prioritized due to an increased risk of exposure or vulnerability to COVID-19 and are consistent with the recommendations from the State Disaster Medical Assistance Committee (SDMAC),” DHS stated.
DHS said the tentative March 1 date is dependent on vaccine supply from the federal government. The groups may be eligible before March 1 if the supply from the federal government increases, but if it decreases, the eligibility date may be pushed beyond March 1.
“Due to the unique needs of each community, local and tribal health departments are leading the coordination of vaccination efforts,” DHS stated. “DHS is supporting these efforts and helping address any gaps in vaccine accessibility. In addition, Wisconsin’s mobile vaccination program allows health departments to request on-the-ground mobile vaccination teams in order to help with vaccinations.”
“By engaging in partnerships with local, state, and federal partners, we are able to ensure the vaccine will be delivered quickly and efficiently,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “As we expand our program, we will continue to implement new strategies and build new partnerships so we can meet the unique needs of each community across the state.”
As the federal government allocates more vaccine doses to Wisconsin, populations eligible for COVID-19 vaccination will continue to expand, DHS said.
“I know everyone is eager to get protected from COVID-19,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake. “With the current allocation from the federal government, it will take considerable time until we have enough vaccine for everyone. Until then, we have tools available right now to help slow the spread. By continuing to stay home, wearing a mask, physical distancing, and quarantining if you are feeling ill, you are helping to protect yourself and your neighbors. And these practices are critical to our vaccination program.”
“We’re going to keep getting shots in arms as quickly as possible and as soon we have vaccines available,” Governor Tony Evers stated. “In the meantime, we have to continue working together to prevent the spread of this virus by wearing face coverings and limiting gatherings with others while we vaccinate folks across our state.”
For information on vaccine eligibility and where to get vaccinated, visit Wisconsin’s Vaccine Phases and Eligibility webpage (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm). For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm).