(WAOW) — Adults over the age of 65 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services made the announcement of this populations eligibility last Tuesday, even before determining who all is in Phase 1B of vaccinations.
According to DHS, there are about 700,000 individuals in the state who are 65 and older. Vaccinating all of them will take time, as DHS says they get around 70,000 first dose vaccines a week. State health officials are urging patience, as it could take a couple months to get everyone vaccinated.
“Older adults have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritizing this population will help save lives,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Wisconsin systems and operations are ready to vaccinate more people. The amount of vaccine we get from the federal government will determine how quickly we can get these groups vaccinated. Our partners in health care, pharmacies and local public health are ready and up to the task.”
The 65 and older population have been recommended by the federal government and discussed by the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC). DHS says prioritizing this group will "help protect more Wisconsinites from serious illness and death."
Wisconsinites who are 65 and older will be able to access the vaccine through their health care provider, pharmacy, or local or tribal public health agency. Those being vaccinated directly through their health care provider will typically be contacted to schedule an appointment by their health care provider.
Those populations are currently frontline health care workers, residents in long-term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities), and police and fire personnel are eligible.
SDMAC has sent their recommendations of who belongs in Phase 1B to DHS, and DHS is expected to make an announcement on who all is eligible later this week.
Adding the recommended people to the list that already includes teachers, adults 65 and older and others would clear 1.6 million individuals for the next phase.