Over 2 million more Wisconsinites to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 12:09 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The list of people in Wisconsin who are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine just got a lot longer, with the Dept. of Health Services more than doubling the number of names on it in one fell swoop.

On Thursday, the agency released a list of 20 medical conditions and stated anyone over 16 years old who is living with at least one of them would be eligible for the vaccine on March 29.

Health officials explained they opted to prioritize those conditions because they are associated with a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and noted that the list aligns with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We urge those eligible and at highest risk to get vaccinated because each shot in arms means we are one step closer to getting back to our Wisconsin way of life,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement announcing the move.

DHS estimates this change will add more than two million people to the eligibility list. That means by the end of the month the majority of Wisconsinites will be authorized to receive the vaccine.

However, with so many people allowed to get vaccinated and demand still outstripping supply, state health officials indicate vaccine providers may need to prioritize who gets them. If they do, DHS is recommending the providers focus on those with severe medical conditions or two or more of the listed conditions, older adults, or those communities that have been disproportionally affected by the virus.

“We are continuing to accelerate our pace, getting more shots in arms each week,” DHS interim secretary Karen Timberlake said. “Together with our vaccinator partners across the state, we are helping those at higher risk of exposure or more vulnerable to severe infection get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The agency noted it expects the vaccine to be available for everyone over 16 years old “sometime in May.”

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

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