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How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in Wisconsin

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

En español | Who can get vaccinated now? 

  • Everyone age 12 and up

Where can I get vaccinated? 

  • The federal government’s vaccines websiteVaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccination sites by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
  • Many transit agencies are offering free or discounted rides to and from vaccination sites.

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. 

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 prioritized because of an underlying medical condition or based on your work, you may need a note from your doctor, a pay stub or badge, or some other form of proof. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

How will residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities get vaccinated? 
 
Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Wisconsin were offered vaccines through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to give out free shots at on-site clinics. The program has ended, but the federal government is still allocating vaccines to ensure facilities have access to shots for new residents and staff, as well as those who were initially hesitant to receive them.

Which 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. Federal officials warn that the vaccine has been connected with rare, severe blood clots in a small number of recipients, especially in women age 50 years and younger.

It’s still unclear how long the vaccines protect recipients. Many experts predict boosters will be needed in the future, but there is currently no clear timeline for additional shots.
 
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. 
 
What should I do with my vaccine card? 

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.  

You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy. 

When will kids be able to get vaccinated? 

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those age 12 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated? 

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and after the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, the CDC says, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors and outdoors without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by state and federal law and local business and workplace requirements. 

The CDC recommends continuing to wear a mask on planes, buses and trains and other shared transport while traveling into, within or out of the United States.

This guide was updated on July 12 with new information about vaccine resources and availability.

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