The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Tuesday which groups will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 1.
The groups in priority order include education and child care staff, individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline health care essential personnel, and staff and residents in congregate living settings.
DHS stressed that March 1 is a tentative date, depending on vaccine supply. Currently, Wisconsin is receiving about 70,000 vaccine doses from the federal government weekly.
“We’re going to keep getting shots in arms as quickly as possible and as soon we have vaccines available,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “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.”
The next groups are being prioritized based on their increased risk of exposure or vulnerability to COVID-19 and are consistent with recommendations from the State Disaster Medical Assistance Committee.
Those recommendations include:
All staff in regulated child care, public and private school programs, out-of-school time programs, virtual learning support, and community learning center programs (Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCA’s). Faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact.
Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs.
Some public-facing essential workers: 911 operators, utility and communications infrastructure workers, public transit drivers and employees, food supply chain workers.
Non-frontline health care essential personnel.
Congregate living residents and on-site facility staff.
This week, the state opened eligibility to people 65 years old and older.
“I know everyone is eager to get protected from COVID-19. With the current allocation from the federal government, it will take considerable time until we have enough vaccine for everyone,” said DHS interim secretary Karen Timberlake. “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.”