While we all continue to be impacted daily by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many are anxious to find out when they and their loved ones will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Information about vaccine distribution is constantly changing, but I want to make sure residents of Northwestern Wisconsin know where to receive the most up-to-date news about vaccine distribution and share the work our state is currently doing to support vaccine distribution and administration efforts.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and local county health departments are the best places to go for updates about the vaccines and their distribution. If you live in an area with limited access to reliable internet services, I encourage you to reach out to friends, family, or neighbors who have access and ask that they share the latest updates with you so you can make a plan to get vaccinated when it is available to you.
Residents from the 73rd Assembly District can find COVID-19 vaccine information at the following links:
- Wisconsin DHS
- Burnett County Health & Human Services
- Douglas County Health & Human Services
- Washburn County Health & Human Services
Residents from the 73rd Assembly District can also call their county health department for COVID-19 vaccine information at the following phone numbers:
- Burnett County Health & Human Services - (715) 349-7600
- Douglas County Health & Human Services - (715) 395-1304
- Washburn County Health & Human Services - (715) 635-4400
The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC) and the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (CACIP) provide the DHS with recommendations about which groups of Wisconsinites should be included in each phase of the vaccine distribution. Counties are currently near the end of Phase 1A of vaccine distribution and are moving on to Phase 1B.
On Thursday, January 21, the SDMAC recommended the DHS include in phase 1B of Wisconsin’s vaccine distribution plan groups such as: Education and child care workers; food chain workers such as grocery store workers, agricultural workers and food pantry staff; 911 operators; non-front-line healthcare personnel; IRIS and Family Care recipients; individuals who work and reside in congregate living settings, including those who are incarcerated but not including those who work or live in student dorms; utility workers; public transit workers; and mink farmers.
As has been true throughout this pandemic, I am continually grateful for the ways in which Governor Evers and his administration have fought time and time again to protect the health and safety of Wisconsin residents. The governor and his team have been working hard to ensure Wisconsin has access to as many vaccine doses as possible and can administer vaccinations as efficiently as possible.
Earlier this month, Governor Evers and DHS announced $86 million would be made available for local and tribal health departments to support vaccine administration and assist with other COVID-19 needs. This funding came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemiology and Lab Capacity grant. As a result, the Wisconsin National Guard and the DHS have teamed up to operate the Mobile Vaccination Program.
When local and tribal health departments identify that the need for the vaccine exceeds local resources, they can request support or assistance from mobile vaccination teams that will be staffed by the Wisconsin National Guard and pharmacy or nursing student volunteers who have gone through the required training. While the program started off with nine mobile vaccination teams, the program is expected to grow to meet vaccine administration needs as Wisconsin progresses through current and future phases of vaccine distribution.
The vaccine distribution program is unchartered territory for everyone involved. States throughout the country have been gravely disappointed by promises of vaccines by the federal government that were not delivered. Most citizens are anxiously awaiting their turn to receive the vaccine with the hope of getting closer to returning their lives back to normal. With a new President and his administration, vast improvements are planned for the vaccination program.
As has been true all along, it will be imperative that we continue to listen to public health officials for guidance relating to the COVID-19 vaccine and continue taking precautions such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and getting tested if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 in order to keep our communities safe and healthy.
I am very grateful to all personnel, both paid and volunteer, that are working diligently to move Wisconsin forward by getting our citizens vaccinated.