DHS announces groups eligible for COVID-19 vaccine tentatively beginning March 1

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Tuesday more groups that will be next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 1, depending on availability.

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.

“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.”

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.

March 1 is a tentative date, dependent on vaccine supply from the federal government. If vaccine supply increases from the federal government, these populations may be eligible before March 1. However, if vaccine supply decreases, they may be eligible after March 1. Currently, Wisconsin is receiving about 70,000 vaccine doses from the federal government weekly.

Due to a limited supply of vaccine, SDMAC prioritized groups for eligibility. These recommendations come after SDMAC reviewed the science and considered nearly 5,000 public comments to provide guidance that equitably distributes the vaccine across the state.

“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.”

As the federal government allocates more vaccine to Wisconsin, populations eligible for COVID-19 vaccination will continue to expand. DHS is working to get COVID-19 vaccine to Wisconsinites as equitably, quickly, and safely as possible.

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