Expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has benefitted UW-Madison students and student workers.
With vaccines more readily available, food supply workers — including restaurant staff — are now eligible for the vaccine, according to Public Health Madison and Dane County regulations that were updated on March 12.
Ashlee Hart, a UW-Madison junior and student supervisor at Rheta’s Market, received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday.
“I had been anticipating university employees being able to sign up for vaccination appointments, but was happily surprised that we were eligible sooner than I had originally thought,” Hart said. “I felt very seen knowing that we were a part of the next eligible group.”
With a “smooth” first dose experience, Hart has scheduled her second dose appointment for April 15. She will then be fully vaccinated and, with updated UW-Madison guidelines, she will be exempted from university testing regulations.
“Physically, I didn’t have any side effects besides a sore arm at the vaccination site,” Hart said. “The major downside was that I had been routinely checking the Walgreens website for appointments for about 2 weeks before I was able to secure an appointment.”
Along with appointment scheduling delays, Hart noted that accessibility has been an obstacle that her fellow dining employees have faced when trying to get the vaccine.
“I know my coworkers and I have only been able to sign up for vaccination appointments farther away from campus than ideal, so I definitely had to weigh location and transportation costs when deciding on an appointment,” Hart said.
Hart noted that her experience working on campus as a dining employee during the pandemic has been positive overall due to their ability to make it feel “safe” and providing “a way to interact with people by going in.”
On March 22, vaccine eligibility was extended to individuals who have certain underlying health conditions. Those interested in receiving the vaccine can find more information on the PHMDC website.