Evers, DHS: Everyone 16+ to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 5
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN — Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Tuesday, March 30 that everyone in Wisconsin age 16 and over will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, April 5, 2021.
“Wisconsin currently leads the nation in being one of the most efficient vaccinators for getting available shots in arms,” a release from Evers’s office said. “With increased vaccine supply and an accelerated vaccination pace in recent weeks, the state is able to push the eligibility date four weeks earlier than expected.”
Although everyone age 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine beginning April 5, some areas of the state may have a higher demand for vaccinations and may have waitlists, the governor’s office noted, adding that vaccine will prioritize anyone previously eligible, such as public-facing essential workers and people with medical conditions.
“There continue to be many options available for getting vaccinated, including through DHS, federal, and local community-based vaccination clinics, pharmacies, healthcare providers, local and tribal health departments, and employers,” the release stated.
More information about each of these options is available at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-get.htm. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for individuals age 16 and 17, according to the release.
To find a local vaccine provider, visit the COVID-19 vaccine provider map (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-map.htm) or visit www.vaccinefinder.org. Individuals can also call the toll-free vaccine hotline at 1-844-684-1064 with questions or help registering for a vaccination appointment. The hotline is also available in Hindi, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish.
“Certain vaccine providers are using the COVID-19 Vaccine Registry (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-registry.htm),” the release said. “Anyone can register for an appointment using the COVID-19 vaccine registry. After you register, you will be notified when you are able to schedule an appointment. Appointments are based on whether a vaccine provider in your area uses the registry for scheduling and has available vaccine, and your place on the waitlist. Other vaccine providers may use their own scheduling system.”
Wisconsin has been a national leader in administering COVID-19 vaccines quickly, the governor’s office said. Since the first shipment of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the state mid-December, over 2.7 million doses have been administered. More than one million Wisconsin residents have been vaccinated as of March 29, and nearly a quarter of the state’s population has received at least one vaccine dose since that date.
“We knew all along our COVID-19 vaccination program would be a massive undertaking, and we’re proud Wisconsin is currently leading the country in these efforts and that we’re now able to give all Wisconsinites 16 and older the opportunity to get vaccinated,” Evers stated. “This marks a major milestone in our state’s fight against this virus and gets us closer to overcoming this pandemic and bouncing back together. Thank you to all the folks in public health, vaccinators, and staff helping make this possible.”
“We have built up a strong network of vaccine providers across the state,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Every community is different, some providers may have openings and others may have waitlists but I assure you that anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one in the coming weeks. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to reach 80 percent community immunity in Wisconsin.”
“As more Wisconsinites get fully vaccinated and COVID-19 disease rates remain high, it is critical for everyone to continue good public health practices,” the release stated. “Masking up, staying physically distant, washing hands, and getting tested continue to be crucial tools for protecting ourselves and our communities against COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated can review recently released post-vaccination guidance.”
For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm.