COVID-19 vaccines: when and where to get one

Wisconsin widens eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine


Photo by Miles Plueger

Jessica Rusciano, a fourth-year nursing student, draws up a COVID-19 vaccine in Zorn Arena.

The COVID-19 vaccine is becoming available to more people in Wisconsin. UW-Eau Claire is using this opportunity to vaccinate more people on campus.

According to the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, Wisconsin is currently in phase 1B. This includes, but is not limited to, education and child care workers and those in congregate living situations. 

Lieske Giese, the director health officer of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, said if you are eligible, to get a vaccine now.

“Whatever vaccine type you can get when you are eligible, we want you to get that vaccine,” Giese said. “All of them are seen as 100% effective in decreasing death.”

Although more people are eligible, the amount available is still limited and will take time to get people vaccinated that are currently eligible, Giese said.

Eau Claire County is receiving about 4,500 doses every week and members of the Health Department meet with vaccinators on a weekly basis, she said.

Vaccination eligibility is set by the state, Giese said, and supply is the number one factor that will shape the timeline, so there is no guarantee for how this process moves along. 

She said she anticipates the general public in Wisconsin could be eligible for the vaccine by the end of April or May. 

Giese said the next eligible group to be named is unknown, but could be those with underlying health conditions, such as cancer or obesity. She said the state is set to make this announcement as early as Thursday, March 11.

Locations that eligible members of the community are able to get vaccinated at, according to the Health Department, include Sacred Heart Hospital, Prevea, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System and OakLeaf Clinics.

Vaccines are also being sent to local Walmarts, Sam’s Clubs and Walgreens for eligible community members.

Grace Crickette, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said this week, first doses of the vaccine have also been sent to Zorn Arena at UW-Eau Claire where faculty, staff and student employees have been able to get vaccinated.

“Anyone on the state payroll and with face-to-face contact with students (is eligible),” Crickette said.

The university has requested 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine every week, Crickette said. The university does not get to choose the vaccine they want because there is limited quantity, she said. 

“500 was a ramp-up number the university chose, but we are set up to do more than 1,000 doses per week,” Crickette said. 

On Tuesday, March 9, 100 doses were administered and 200 were administered on Wednesday, Crickette said.

Crickette said next week the university may start a vaccine clinic in Zorn Arena to further vaccinate those on campus. In April, she said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be setting up a clinic which would help administer shots for the community.

The university is doing its best to send out notifications to people who are eligible for the vaccine, Crickette said. Those that receive the email get to choose where they want to get vaccinated, but if campus supply runs out, some are being directed to places like Walgreens.

One roadblock, Crickette said, was even if the university has extra doses, they cannot give them out to people who are not eligible. This slows down the process of vaccinating everyone and makes it impossible to predict when most of campus might be vaccinated.

For those that want to stay up-to-date on the latest additions to eligibility on vaccines, Giese said she advises going to the Health Department website linked here

Crickette said the university will continue to notify individuals that they can schedule a vaccine appointment, but advises checking online daily.

“Monitor the CDC webpage or local public health website and favorite those pages,” Crickette said.

Plueger can be reached at [email protected].