Patience urged as DHS adds prioritized groups to COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list
The following is a collaboratively-issued statement from: Brown County Public Health, Oneida Nation Health Department, City of De Pere Health Department, Advocate Aurora Health/Aurora BayCare, Bellin Health, Prevea Health and HSHS St. Vincent/St. Mary’s Hospitals, Door County Medical Center and Holy Family Memorial.
On March 1, 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) will add new groups to the list of those eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. DHS has asked providers to continue vaccinating those previously eligible including the 65+ population, while prioritizing those in in the next phase of eligibility. The newly eligible groups include, in priority order:
• Those employed in education and childcare
• People in Medicaid long-term care programs
• Some public-facing essential workers
• Non-frontline health care personnel
• Facility staff and residents in congregate living settings
For additional details about vaccine-eligible groups, go to: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm
At this time, it is important to understand that eligibility does not mean there is availability of the vaccine. Local vaccinators receive COVID-19 vaccine from DHS, which receives allotments from the federal government. Local vaccinators can only make COVID-19 vaccination appointments available based upon the amount of vaccine received. Currently, vaccine supply and allocation across our state remains limited – even for those groups currently eligible for vaccination.
Local health systems and health departments kindly ask everyone to be patient during this time. We collectively understand the frustration of those who want the vaccine and are eligible, but not currently able to secure an appointment. Local vaccinators will open additional appointments for COVID-19 vaccination as they receive additional supply.
While we do not have the ability to solve the vaccine supply issue, we can confidently state that eventually there will be enough supply to vaccinate anyone who wants it. Vaccination is a key step in bringing the pandemic to an end, and as your community health care leaders we are fiercely dedicated to doing everything we can to carry out the vaccination process as quickly and safely as possible.
In addition, please continue to wear a mask when around others outside of your household, practice physical distancing when around those you do not live with, wash your hands frequently and quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Thank you for your patience and understanding.