DHS to launch 4 more community-based vaccination clinics in next 2 months

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Tuesday, Feb. 23 the locations of four additional community-based vaccination clinics.

The vaccination clinics will be located in La Crosse County, Racine County, Marathon County, with the last clinic split between Douglas and Barron County. Locations will open within the next two months.

A news release says the new clinics are made possible through collaboration with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, the University of Wisconsin system, local public health departments, and other local partners. They were selected to address gaps in vaccine access and support vaccination efforts.

Various factors including population demographics, local health capacity, operations, and concentration of other vaccine providers are taken into consideration when planning for these vaccination clinics. All individuals currently eligible for the vaccine, regardless of where they live, will be able to schedule an appointment.

COVID-19 vaccine

Wisconsin currently has over 1,800 vaccine providers to help get available vaccine to those who are eligible. This includes the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, where select Walgreens continue to expand their vaccination capacity. This week, 178 Walgreens locations in Wisconsin will be receiving a total of 35,350 vaccine doses which is double the amount from last week. If you are currently eligible for vaccine, call 1-800-Walgreens or visit the Walgreens online registration website to schedule an appointment. Supply will be limited.

Individuals can also find vaccination options by contacting your healthcare provider, visiting your local public health department's website, or beginning March 1, registering through the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry to find a vaccinator who has opted into the registry. 

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While there is still a limited amount of vaccine doses available, it will likely take some time before everyone currently eligible will be able to get vaccinated. Due to the unique differences in each community, some parts of Wisconsin may be at different phases in their vaccination efforts. As more vaccine becomes available there will be more opportunities to get vaccinated.

Preparing for second half of Phase 1b

Meanwhile, the state is preparing for the second half of Phase 1b in its vaccine rollout -- when eligibility expands beyond seniors.

"We’re nearly 47 percent of people aged 65-plus have received their first dose," said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. "We'll continue to supply vaccine to this population and use the increased doses to begin to serve the Phase 1b population."

Van Wijk said the state is expected to receive 115,000 first doses of the vaccine each week for the next two weeks. That is in addition to 35,000 doses arriving at 178 Walgreens stores. The amount is double what the federal government sent the pharmacy chain last week.

On March 1, those involved in education, public transit, food supply chain, and other essential jobs can receive their shots. Van Dijk said an estimated 225,000 school staff and childcare providers are the first priority.

"We want our kids in school. We know a number school districts have been in-person since early in the year -- and we know a number are moving in that direction," Van Dijk said. "As people who are age 65 start to complete their vaccine series, that will create more space in communities across the state for those other essential workers."

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