EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – A large group of Wisconsin residents will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Thursday.
The new group includes people with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 who are 16 years of age or older. The medical conditions that are included in the new eligibility group are:
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Down’s Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunosuppressed status (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplantation, blood or bone marrow transplant, immunodeficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other medications that weaken the immune system
- Liver disease
- Neurological conditions, such as dementia.
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] 30-39 kg / m2)
- Overweight (BMI 25-29 kg / m2)
- The pregnancy
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having scarred or damaged lung tissue)
- Severe obesity (BMI 40 kg / m2 or more)
- Sickle-cell anaemia
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
“It is based on the best evidence we have about what medical conditions make someone more vulnerable to serious illness or death,” said DHS Undersecretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.
The newly eligible group will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of March 29. That does not mean that everyone eligible will be vaccinated right away.
“Please be patient. Although we know that people are eligible, it will take some time during the months of April and early May to reach all of those groups, ”said Lieske Giese, director of the Eau Claire City and County Health Department.
According to a DHS statement, more than 2 million Wisconsin residents are recently eligible with this announcement.
Depending on the available supply of vaccines, DHS says they expect the general Wisconsin population to be eligible sometime in May.
Due to the large number of newly eligible individuals, DHS adds that in places where vaccination is in short supply, providers can prioritize people who are considered to be most at risk among eligibility groups.
“Healthcare providers may need to under-prioritize within those groups and may consider factors such as people with severe or unstable conditions, racial or ethnic groups, older people, or people with multiple conditions,” said Willems Van Dijk.
A local provider will not give priority to group 1C. Prevea Health Medical Director Dr. Ken Johnson said it is too difficult to determine which of the listed medical conditions deserve priority status.
“When I look at the list of medical conditions that now become eligible on March 29, it would be very difficult to stratify which of those people should get the vaccine in what order, so we will continue to give them the vaccine based on who the state says they are. eligible. and then who signs up, ”he said.
Marshfield Clinic said it would still prioritize people already on its waiting list to get vaccinated.
Mayo Clinic said it has not yet decided how it will prioritize people who fall into 1C.
Giese said the Eau Claire City and County Health Department will not prioritize people in 1C for their vaccine clinics, but their focus at the moment is to vaccinate teachers.
Johnson, however, said that people who are eligible shouldn’t wait to sign up for an appointment.
“As long as there are spaces available, I think it is important for us to administer all the doses of vaccine that I have available,” he said. “So I don’t want to get to the end of the week and have 500 shots that I didn’t give because people were waiting.”
Johnson said the number of appointments and the vaccination that people at Prevea Health receive is determined by what the state provides each week.
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