WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — Educators become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Mar. 1.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, or DHS, confirmed on Thursday, Feb. 25, that people who are 65 and older, teachers and child care workers will be prioritized among the new eligible groups.
Some may get shots right away while others may need to wait. Central Wisconsin health systems have said they want to make more progress with those 65 and older before moving to teachers.
Tammie Simon, Vice President for Quality, Innovation and Patient Safety at Marshfield Clinic Health System said, “It could take months, honestly it’s truly dependent on our vaccine supply.”
The Department of Health Services said districts with higher populations of students of color and low-income families will be prioritized, other districts may face longer waits than initially expected.
Wausau school district director of human resources, Tabatha Gundrum said, “We will not be starting our vaccines March 1st, I know that for a fact.”
Similarly, Wood county health department officials said they would not start vaccinating teachers and other groups until, “better progress is made on those 65 and older.”
Soon, however, teachers will get vaccines specifically for them.
Gundrum said she was told by Aspirus health systems that, “there will be a dedicated portion of the vaccines that will be released by the state that will be available just for school district employees both in Wausau and other school districts throughout the region.”
The Wausau school district says they will receive their vaccinations from their healthcare provider, Aspirus, in a matter of weeks, not months, starting with those who work in special education.
Gundrom said, “We’re focusing on highest risk first. We’ll go to high school staff, then middle school then elementary staff.”
But another hold up is hard for some to hear.
“A lot of our staff is anxious to get the vaccine. And there’s disappointment that it hasn’t gone as fast as we would have liked,” said Gundrum.
Marshfield Clinic receives roughly 2,200 first doses every week with 26,000 patients currently on their wait list. The health system said it is still focusing on those 65 and older, educators will be about a month out.
The state’s goal is to have all educators fully vaccinated by the end of April.