Graham Kilmer

City Expands Vaccine Eligibility

With more vaccine available, health department expands range of people who can get treated at the Wisconsin Center.

By - Mar 10th, 2021 02:54 pm
COVID-19 Vaccination Hub at the Wisconsin Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

COVID-19 Vaccination Hub at the Wisconsin Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department is widening eligibility for vaccination at their Wisconsin Center site.

The department announced Wednesday that essential workers, people in Medicaid long-term care programs and non-frontline essential healthcare workers can all make appointments for vaccination at the Wisconsin Center. The appointments will be limited to city of Milwaukee residents or those that work in the city.

All these groups are in the state’s vaccination phase 1b, which began March 1st. Prior to this announcement, the city was focusing its vaccination efforts in the first two weeks of this phase on vaccinating education and childcare workers — along with those that were previously eligible.

This expansion is mostly due to increased availability of supplies, said Jeff Fleming, a spokesperson for the city. There has been a steadily rising allocation for the health department since it became a certified vaccinator. But also, he said, “We probably over estimated the number of teachers that were coming in.”

On Tuesday, Mayor Tom Barrett announced that there were hundreds of vaccine appointments reserved for educators that were not filled. The city had partnered with two major health systems to staff the Wisconsin Center seven days a week and to launch four community vaccination clinics around the city for educators and child care workers. But they had more vaccine set aside than this group is utilizing.

Some of this could be due to confusion over who is eligible under this designation. As Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for Milwaukee County, recently explained, anyone who works in any type of child care is eligible. This could be staff from the Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA, he said.

Following this expansion by the health department, the number and range of people that can schedule an appointment has been greatly increased.

Eligibility as a Medicaid long-term care receiver covers people enrolled in Family Care, Family Care Partnership, IRIS, the Children’s Long-Term Support Waiver Program, the Katie Beckett Program, Children’s Community Options Program, Children Come First, Wrap Around Milwaukee programs and Children with Mental Complexity Program.

Essential Workers includes utility workers that cannot socially distance and work on electric, natural gas, steam, water, wastewater, internet, and telecommunications services. It also includes public transit drivers and operators. Food Supply Chain workers are also eligible under this designation, which includes anyone that works in agricultural operations, food production, distribution and retail. Even if you work in a gas station or convenience store that sells food, you’re now eligible to get vaccinated.

Non-frontline essential health care workers includes people that work in health care settings on public health, emergency management, cybersecurity, critical health care supply chains and support systems important to health care facilities like HVAC and refrigeration.

To schedule an appointment for vaccination with the city, call 414-286-6800 or visit

For a full list of eligibility under the current phase of vaccination, visit this state Department of Health Services webpage.

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Categories: Health, Weekly

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