The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has announced the next group of people who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines tentatively beginning March 1.
According to DHS, Priority Group 1B focuses on "vulnerability and exposure risk of COVID-19."
DHS said those who work in education and child care, individuals enrolled in Medicaid Long-Term Care programs, public-facing essential workers, non-front line health care personnel, and those in congregate living are eligible for the vaccine beginning on or around March 1.
“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.”
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Last week, the state health department announced Wisconsinites aged 65 and up would be able to receive vaccinations starting Jan. 25. But local health officials say they just don't have enough doses of the vaccine to be able to start vaccinating this next group.
There are about 700,000 people 65 years or older in the state.
While it will take time to move through each group, DHS is encouraging those who are at significant risk due to their public-facing positions to come forward to receive the vaccine. Those who are able to work from home, perform their tasks outdoors, or have limited engagement with the public are asked to delay getting vaccinated.
Breakdown of each group eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines:
Education & child care
- Staff in regulated child care, public and private school programs, out of school time programs, virtual learning support, community learning center programs
- All staff in Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs
- All staff in preschool and Head Start through K-12 education settings.
- Faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact.
Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
- IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self Direct)
- Family Care
- Katie Beckett and Children’s Long Term Care Waiver, when the member’s age allows them to qualify for vaccine
Some public-facing essential workers
- 911 operators
- Utility and communications infrastructure: Workers who cannot socially distance and responsible for some fundamental processes and facilities that ensure electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, etc.
- Public transit
- Food supply chain
Non-front line health care essential personnel
- Staff who perform essential roles within health care organizations by maintaining cyber security; perform cleaning functions; scheduling; critical HVAC functions related to maintaining proper air flow in health care settings and refrigeration functions related to vaccine storage; health care critical supply chain functions, including those involved in the production, manufacturing and distribution of vaccine; public health; and emergency management.
Congregate living:: Residents of congregate living settings and on-site facility staff