Wisconsin teachers are advancing to the head of the class!  Wisconsin health officials will migrate to the next run of COVID vaccinations starting Monday, March 1 and teachers are part of Phase 1B. The progression has been scheduled now that "nearly half" of state residents 65 and older (Phase 1A) have received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to news sources, educators in Wisconsin will be first in line for the vaccines when the Phase 1B shots start.  The prioritization is "based on a specific order established last month when the department finalized which groups would be eligible for the phase".  Here is the rank order for Phase 1B:

  • Education and child care workers
  • People in Medicaid long-term care programs - such as IRIS and Family Care
  • Public-facing essential workers: 911 operators, public transit workers, utility workers, food supply chain workers, agricultural workers, retail food workers
  • Non-frontline health care personnel
  • People in "congregate living" - mental health institutions or people who are incarcerated
  • Mink husbandry workers

The vaccinations for teachers and educators plays an integral role in getting Wisconsin's schools back to in-person, full-time sessions.  This is a goal shared by students, parents, teachers, and government officials.

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The rank order for this particular phase has some critics.  Mitchell Hagopian - a Disability Rights Wisconsin attorney - and, someone who sits on the DHS Volunteer Vaccine Advisory Committee - shared:

"In effect, DHS has crowded out the Family Care, IRIS and other vulnerable populations.  [Disability Rights Wisconsin's] position is that all eligible populations should have equal access to the vaccine from the date they become eligible. The only preferences should be related to assuring adequate supply to underserved communities."

Others have questioned the ability for incarcerated people to advance to the vaccine table ahead of others. To all of those concerns, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Van Dijk says "[t]he important thing for people to remember is a shot in the arm is another person protected in the state.  We will all get our turn."

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LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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