Good news for Wisconsin seniors:  The state Department of Health Services (DHS) will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to those age 65 and older. The change happens effective Monday, January 25.  According to U.S. Census numbers and demographic data available via news sources, there are currently more than 700,000 people the in Badger State who are 65 and older.

The change comes as the outgoing Trump administration "urged states to expand vaccine eligibility".  Since the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced, the priority for vaccinations has been on frontline workers, police and firefighters, staff and residents living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  With the bulk of those in the so-called Phase 1A already vaccinated, the push is now on to get those in Phase 1B their vaccinations - at least in Wisconsin.

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Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Andrea Palm shared that the states vaccination systems are ready to accommodate the next level of patients:

"Older adults have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic and prioritizing this population will help save lives.  Wisconsin systems and operations are ready to vaccinate more people.  The amount of vaccine we get from the federal government will determine how quickly we can get these groups vaccinated."

With the move towards Phase 1B comes the gradual shift towards allowing "outside networks" perform vaccinations.  News sources are reporting that - at least in Wisconsin - "[t]hose 65 and older can access the vaccine through their health care provider, pharmacy, or local or tribal public health agency".  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says that those agencies currently giving the COVID-19 vaccination (mostly health care systems) can also start to give the vaccine to Phase 1B patients on January 25 if they have finished giving their vaccinations to Phase 1A patients.

Wisconsin pharmacies are up to the task.  The Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin's CEO Sarah Sorum has this to say:

"Pharmacies are ready to vaccinate this population and other eligible populations, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Department of Health Services and local public health to ensure our most vulnerable Wisconsinites receive the vaccine."

Wisconsin has already made great inroads into getting the vaccine into the general population (via frontline workers).  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that almost 780,000 doses of the vaccine have allotted and almost 250,000 doses have been administered.

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