Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine getting underway in the Fox Valley

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 4:46 PM CST
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - We’re learning more tonight about how the counties in the southern part of WBAY’s viewing area will roll out the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations. We first told you earlier this week the state cleared the way for Phase 1b of vaccinating to begin Monday, January 25, for anyone over the age of 65.

It took just a couple of hours from when the Fond du Lac County Health Department announced its plans to host its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic on January 27 at the county fairgrounds the 1,000 appointments available to be filled.

According to Health Officer Kim Mueller, “We have it planned where we have 20 vaccinators that are going to be there, and we plan that each individual will take about ten minutes, so we have 20 people that are going to come through every ten minutes.”

Mueller tells Action 2 News there are at least another 2,000 people who called the health department that are now on a waiting list. Thomas Conley is one of those people, but instead of calling the health department he just showed up to try and get an appointment. “They told me it’s going to be a matter of maybe even weeks, but they will call me when the next opening is and then set up a time for me to come in,” says Conley.

With about 19,000 Fond du Lac County residents in the 65 or older demographic, Mueller hopes to add more clinics as doses of the vaccine become available.

The same holds true for ThedaCare, which announced Thursday it will begin distributing the vaccine to the 1b group next week as well. “In ThedaCare there’s about 70,000 people that are 65 years of age in older,” says Dr. Mark Cockley, chief medical officer.

In addition to its hospitals, vaccinations will also be offered at Encircle Health on the north side of Appleton, with plans to open additional clinics across the system moving forward.

Thedacare is asking those who are eligible to register on its website, but tells us it’s going to try and vaccinate those who are higher risk first. Dr. Cockley adds, “Looking at those and how do we start pushing those out and knowing that it may be 5,000 on that list as a number? Knowing we only have a thousand vaccines, how do prioritize, how do we get people? If you’re in that group, it may be first-come/first-serve in how you sign up, but how do we continue to expand that, provide rapid ability to immunize as soon as we get the vaccine to push through this.”

Both ThedaCare and Fond du Lac County tell us they’ll learn on Friday how many doses of the vaccine they’ll receive the following week. As those numbers increase, both entities say they’ll vaccinate to capacity in order to move through people faster.

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