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DHS announces seniors eligible for COVID vaccine next week

By Patrick Lynn

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Tuesday announced that adults 65 and older would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Jan. 25.

Seniors will be the latest group eligible for the phased vaccination distribution, which currently includes frontline healthcare workers, police, fire, and EMS staff, and residents in long-term care facilities.

Wisconsin currently receives about 70,000 booster vaccines weekly from the U.S. Department of Health Services.

“Older adults have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritizing this population will help save lives,” said outgoing DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, who is leaving her role on Wednesday after being appointed to serve in the Biden Administration.

“Wisconsin systems and operations are ready to vaccinate more people,” she said in a press release. “The amount of vaccine we get from the federal government will determine how quickly we can get these groups vaccinated. Our partners in health care, pharmacies, and local public health are ready and up to the task.”

Adults 65 and older have been recommended by the federal government and was also discussed by the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee. Also proposed for inclusion in Phase 1B are teachers, workers in childcare settings, and those who live in group settings such as jail, group homes, and mental health facilities. The full recommendations from SDMAC on the rest of 1B eligibility will be voted on later this week.