State announces date for police, fire and EMS COVID vaccinations

The statewide vaccination rollout leaves  questions of availability for qualifying groups.
The statewide vaccination rollout leaves questions of availability for qualifying groups.(KALB)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 1:25 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin’s police and fire department personnel will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Jan. 18. The state says this will mark the first step to vaccinating people in Phase 1B of the rollout.

The state has been vaccinating frontline health care workers and people involved in long-term care in the Phase 1A grouping since Dec. 14.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says local health departments will lead the effort to get police, fire and EMS vaccinated. They’ll work with health care systems and pharmacies to get shots in arms.

This comes amid increasing calls for Wisconsin to step up vaccine administration. The CDC shows 418,775 vaccines have been distributed to Wisconsin, but only 135,261 have been administered. Action 2 News spoke to first responders who are frustrated they’ve yet to be vaccinated. “Some long haul transfers from our hospital here in Fond du Lac down to Madison and Milwaukee. We’re in a confined space for over an hour with a patient who is known to be COVID positive. We want to make sure our rescue workers have every bit of safety that they can have,” says Fond du Lac Fire Rescue Chief Peter O’Leary.

The Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin sent a letter to Palm calling on the state to immediately start vaccinating people in Phase 1B and to expand the pharmacies receiving the vaccine.

“Pharmacies serve as a crucial asset and partner in the fight against COVID-19 and providing more flexibility to pharmacies to provide vaccinations is a necessary next step to have a more efficient dissemination of the vaccine,” the group states.

Evers said Monday that Wisconsin needs more than 10,000 additional doses to fulfill requests from vaccinators. He says demand will exceed supply this week.

“Our vaccine team is working across the state on vaccine distribution, and so many Wisconsinites are ready to get vaccinated and get back to our Wisconsin way of life,” said Gov. Evers. “In a state where our statewide mitigation strategies have been struck down and challenged time and time again, it is absolutely critical that Wisconsin get additional doses of vaccine to meet demand and box in the virus.”

Evers says 550,000 people qualify for the vaccine in the Phase 1A grouping. On Wednesday, the State’s Disaster Medical Advisory Committee is set to release details of who will be in Phase 1B for public comment.

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