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The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Wisconsin

En español | Who can get vaccinated now? 

  • Adults age 65-plus, along with police officers, firefighters and corrections officers
  • Frontline health care workers and long-term care residents and staff
  • Teachers, child care staff

Where can I get vaccinated? 

  • State vaccine hubs and community clinics, the first of which opened in Rock County on Feb. 16. People already on the county’s vaccine waitlist filled the initial appointments, so the state recommends you contact your local health department to get on a waitlist and see if a community clinic is opening near you. The state is soon expected to launch a more centralized vaccine registry.
  • Other pharmacies and health clinics. Use the Walgreens website to check vaccine appointment availability near you. 
  • The state plans to roll out a centralized vaccine registry that will make it easier for people to check dose availability and schedule an appointment. The registry is available on a limited basis to people who live in Wauwatosa and Green, Marathon, Oneida, Rock and St. Croix counties. Officials say they hope to make it available statewide by the end of March.
  • Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others. 

AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. 

SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital Distributes Covid-19 Vaccine To Medical Workers
Wisconsin is distributing COVID-19 vaccines to its top priority groups.
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment? 

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. 

If you are eligible due to an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible on the basis of your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?  

People enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, certain critical workers like 911 operators and public transit drivers and residents and staff of congregate living facilities like homeless shelters. State officials are updating the health department’s website with the latest information about who is currently eligible to get a vaccine.

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines because the science shows that older people are at higher risk of death from the coronavirus.  

How will residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities get vaccinated? 
 
Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities are being vaccinated through a federal program that has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines at three free on-site clinics at the facilities.

Almost all nursing homes, which were given first priority, have completed their first and second clinics, and most have also finished their final clinics, according to data from CVS and Walgreens. Many assisted living and other long-term care facilities are also taking part in the program. Almost all of them have completed their first clinics, and most have completed their second. All the vaccination clinics are slated to be complete by late March.
 
I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot. 

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.   

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot.  

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. 
 
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?   
 
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).  

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams. 
 
Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?   
 
Yes. Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-world conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose. 
 
The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC says it could take months for the population to build up immunity and continues to recommend preventive measures such as face masks and social distancing.    
 
In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, although they would still provide some protection.

This guide was updated on March 1 with more information about vaccine eligibility in Wisconsin.

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WATCH: AARP’s CEO on Fighting for Your COVID-19 Vaccination

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins

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