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Wis. DHS doctors meet to begin forming guidance on how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines once available

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Posted at 1:07 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 14:31:39-05

MILWAUKEE — Health officials in Wisconsin are already working to issue guidance on what to do once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

A Department of Health Services subcommittee met this morning to begin building an outline that will eventually offer guidance to healthcare organizations on how to distribute the vaccine.

The doctors brainstormed strategies, digging into how to prioritize who gets a vaccine first, particularly among healthcare workers, and they quickly realizing a "one size fits all" approach to vaccination distribution may be unrealistic.

"Give them the guidance and have them develop their vaccination strategy based on the factors that are relevant for that particular organization" suggested Dr. Daryl Daane, a member of the DHS subcommittee.

During the meeting, risk factors like age, race, and underlying health conditions were considered. So were the settings healthcare workers set to receive vaccines may be working in and whether the workers are being directly exposed to COVID-19 or potentially infectious materials.

The doctors also considered whether someone being previously infected with COVID-19 should impact their prioritization for a vaccine.

The doctors also spent time talking about the most practical way to distribute the vaccine, once it becomes available, in the event that the initial supply is too limited to distribute to all healthcare workers.

"I think at the end of the day when it comes to that, do we use a lottery system or do we use first come first serve," said Dr. Jonathan Temte, one of the DHS committee members.

The goal of Friday's meeting was to develop a rough draft of an outline that will eventually help distribute the first vaccines among healthcare personnel statewide.

The idea is that effective guidance could in-turn help organizations decrease potential transmission to patients, co-workers, and the community once the vaccine is ready.

The next step is to have the guidance formatted then shared and opened up for public comment before it becomes official.

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