DHS Announces People with Medical Conditions Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine March 29
Anticipates general public being eligible in May
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today that individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 29. This eligibility group includes individuals with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on the recent and anticipated increases in vaccine availability, DHS anticipates the general public will be eligible for the vaccine sometime in May.
The decision to expand eligibility to include individuals with certain medical conditions aligns with recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(link is external) and was informed by work by the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee and guidance from medical experts in DHS . The CDC’s recommendations reflect the best available evidence(link is external) on conditions that are known to make individuals more vulnerable to severe complications due to COVID-19.
The next eligibility group includes individuals age 16 and over with the following medical conditions:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- 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)
- 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)
Due to the limited supply of vaccine and with this next eligible group likely adding more than 2 million individuals in Wisconsin eligible for the vaccine, providers may need to prioritize individuals within this population who are at higher risk. These include individuals with severe medical conditions, those with two or more conditions, older adults, or those living in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Every community is different, but everyone in this group will be eligible for the vaccine.
“All three COVID-19 vaccines available are incredibly safe and effective at preventing infection, serious illness, and death. These vaccines are saving lives. That is why we are committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get protected against the virus,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake. “We are continuing to accelerate our pace, getting more shots in arms each week. 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.”
Individuals with the outlined medical conditions can access vaccine through a variety of options, including community-based clinics, health care providers, Local and Tribal Health Departments, and pharmacies. Wisconsinites with a primary care provider may hear directly from their provider. Visit the Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine options page or call the toll free vaccine hotline at 1-844-684-1064 to learn more.
In the meantime, it is important to double-down on ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 due to emerging strains of the virus. Masking up, staying physically distant, washing hands, and getting tested continue to be crucial tools for protecting ourselves and our communities against COVID-19. Individuals who are fully vaccinated can review recently released post-vaccination guidance on the DHS website.
For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage.
- MKE County: County Executive Crowley Has COVID-19 - Graham Kilmer - Jun 30th, 2022
- Statement From the Office of Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley - County Executive David Crowley - Jun 29th, 2022
- State Begins Vaccines For Youngest People - Erik Gunn - Jun 22nd, 2022
- DHS Recommends COVID-19 Vaccines for Everyone Age 6 Months and Older - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Jun 21st, 2022
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake’s Statement on CDC’s COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Recommendations and Expansion to Children Under Age 5 - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Jun 18th, 2022
- MKE County: New COVID-19 Cases Down Slightly This Past Week - Graham Kilmer - Jun 17th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Jun 17th, 2022
- MKE County: County Sees “Plateau” In New COVID-19 Cases - Graham Kilmer - Jun 10th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Jun 10th, 2022
- High Court Okays Release of COVID-19 Workplace Data - Erik Gunn - Jun 8th, 2022
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by Wisconsin Department of Health Services
New benefit will increase senior access to vaccines
Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines authorized for children 6 months through 5 years