COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for those with medical conditions moved up

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Tuesday that people with certain medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine a week earlier than expected after the state has seen an increase in available appointments.

Individuals with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness from the novel coronavirus will be able to receive the vaccine beginning March 22, rather than the previously announced March 29.

“Our vaccinators across the state are doing great work to get folks vaccinated and get this done, and because of their good work, Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in getting shots in arms,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “Moving up eligibility for this critical group will help us get over the finish line and sooner, and get us back to our Wisconsin way of life.”

The next eligibility group which will begin March 22, 2021 includes individuals age 16 and over with the following medical conditions:

  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
    Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from 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 intellectual disabilities and dementia
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

They will join people who are already available, which include:

  • Frontline health care personnel
  • Residents and staff in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities
  • Police and fire personnel, correctional staff
  • Age 65 and older
  • Educators and Child care
  • Individuals enrolled in Medicaid Long-term care programs
  • Some public facing essential workers
  • Non-frontline essential health care personnel
  • Staff and residents in congregate living facilities

Additionally, DHS clarified current eligibility to include all clergy (as part of health care personnel who provide spiritual care to the sick), restaurant workers (as part of the food supply eligibility group) and further expanded public safety to include judges, prosecutors, and other essential criminal court personnel, in addition to public defenders.

Depending on vaccine supply, DHS still anticipates that Wisconsin will be able to expand eligibility May 1 to include all individuals age 16 and older. DHS will continue to monitor vaccination coverage statewide and partner with vaccine providers in order to provide an updated vaccination timeline for the general public.

Visit the Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine options page or call the toll free vaccine hotline at 1-844-684-1064 to learn more.