DHS sets list for who’s eligible for the vaccine next

Educators, childcare workers, and grocery store employees are among the next group.
An SSM Health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot to Lemuel Ellis, one of the first...
An SSM Health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot to Lemuel Ellis, one of the first people 65 and older to receive the dose at SSM.(SSM Health)
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 10:32 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Educators, grocery store employees, and prisoners will be some of the next individuals who will be allowed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Dept. of Health Services’ latest breakdown of eligible populations.

On Tuesday, the agency released its latest eligibility list, however it noted the members of these groups will likely not be able to get vaccinated before March.

In addition to those teachers and childcare workers, people who are enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, non-frontline health care workers who are still considered essential, as well as facility staff and residents in congregate living settings will be included in the next phase.

Additionally, some public facing essential workers who will be allowed to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Grocery store employees are among that list, as it covers the entire food supply chain, from agricultural workers to food production workers to retail food workers to hunger relief personnel.

Public transit drivers, 911 operators, and utility and communications infrastructure employees are among those essential populations too. Full breakdown available here.

Currently EligibleNext Group Eligible
Frontline health care personnelEducators and child care
Residents in skilled nursing and long-term care facilitiesIndividuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
Police and fire personnel, correctional staffSome public-facing essential workers
Adults ages 65 and overNon-frontline health care essential personnel
Facility staff and residents in congregate living settings

In its statement, DHS ranked them in priority order as:

  • Educators and childcare
  • Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
  • Some public-facing essential workers like food supply, public transit, utility and communications infrastructure, and 911 operators
  • Non-frontline health care essential personnel
  • Congregate living facility staff and residents

DHS officials explained they based their decisions on who is at the highest risk of exposure as well as those most vulnerable to complications from the virus.

“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,” DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake said.

Congregate living facilities include housing serving older residents or people with disabilities, shelters and transitional living facilities, as well as those who incarcerated in jails and prisons.

The start date for these groups, while tentatively set for March 1, will be based on the vaccine supply from the federal government, DHS noted. Should the state receive less of the vaccine that date would have to be pushed back.

“We’re going to keep getting shots in arms as quickly as possible and as soon we have vaccines available,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “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.”

DHS officials pointed out that the amount of vaccines that have been provided by the federal government is less than what has been requested by the state’s 1,200 vaccine providers.

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