Graham Kilmer

Vaccine Eligibility Expanding Based On Medical Conditions

DHS announced Thursday it would make another 2 million people eligible on March 29th.

By - Mar 11th, 2021 02:59 pm
Dr. Ben Weston receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Ben Weston receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The state Department of Health Services announced Thursday that they would greatly expand vaccine eligibility at the end of March.

Wisconsin began the second phase of vaccinations, phase 1b, on March 1st, opening up the vaccine to an approximately 1.6 million additional people. At the end of the month the state will start vaccinating residents based upon pre-existing medical conditions making another estimated 2 million people eligible for the vaccine.

Beginning March 29th, individuals 16 years and older with medical conditions that are understood to put someone at increased risk for a severe outcome from COVID-19.

“We are continuing to accelerate our pace, getting more shots in arms each week,” said DHS Interim Director Karen Timberlake. “Together with our vaccinator partners across the state, we are helping those at higher risk of exposure or more vulnerable to severe infection get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

In a statement, the department said this move to increase accessibility is in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The allocation of vaccine the state receives from the federal government has been gradually increasing since vaccination began in January. This increasing supply has allowed the state to open up the vaccine to an ever wider portion of the public.

But supply is still limited, according to DHS. As a result, providers may prioritize individuals seeking a vaccine that have severe medical conditions, more than one condition, older adults or residents of communities that have been hard hit by COVID-19.

“Every community is different, but everyone in this group will be eligible for the vaccine,” the department said in a statement.

DHS also announced that they expect the state will have enough supply to open up vaccine to the general public by May. 

The groups that will become eligible on March 29th include people with the following conditions:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

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Categories: Health, Weekly

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