The Wisconsin Department of Health Services' COVID-19 vaccination program approved University Health Services (UHS) as a distributor of COVID-19 vaccine in late December.
In early stages, the Department of Health Services will grant vaccination approval to individuals in Phase 1a — a group containing subcategories — tiers — of health care personnel (HCP) and residents of long-term care facilities (RLTCF) based on need. ACIP and CDC guidelines as well as the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee aided DHS criteria categorization.
On Dec. 16, Phase 1a UW-Madison campus community members were notified of their eligibility for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines through UHS. Emails sent to wisc.edu accounts provide relevant information for these individuals. Those who believe their circumstances meet the Phase 1a eligibility criteria but did not receive notification of vaccination procedures by Dec. 18 are encouraged to contact UHS at email@example.com.
The university and prospective vaccine recipients await information on two factors from the DHS: which vaccine UHS will be receiving and when the vaccine will arrive on campus.
The latter remains unknown; however, the DHS reported that primary shipments of a vaccine arrived in Wisconsin on Dec. 14.
“As vaccine supply increases, other health care personnel and long-term care facility residents and staff will be offered COVID-19 vaccination,” reads a section of the DHS 'COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know' webpage. “We expect that it will take several months to vaccinate everyone eligible in Phase 1A.”
Phase 1a vaccine recipients will receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, both of which build immunity in vaccinated individuals through two separate doses. The DHS will be responsible for telling the university which mRNA vaccines UHS will administer.
“We appreciate DHS’s work to approve UHS as a vaccinator for COVID-19 and look forward to providing vaccine to our campus community as it becomes available,” says UHS Interim Director of Medical Services and Primary Care Physician Patrick Kelly, reports UW-Madison Director of Research Communications Kelly April Tyrrell. “We know it could be many months before all of our students and employees can be vaccinated but this is an important and hopeful first step.”
Phases 1b — individuals aged 75 years or older and frontline essential workers — and 1c — remaining essential workers, individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and, as well as individuals between the ages of 16 and 64 with underlying high-risk health conditions — will follow after all individuals in phase 1a are vaccinated.