MADISON – This week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that people aged 65 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine beginning Jan. 25. University Health Services has sent notices to about 1,800 members of the campus community from this group to invite them to make appointments to be vaccinated.
Individuals in this age group may also seek vaccine through their health care provider. For instance, UW Health has encouraged people to learn more about its vaccination process by visiting uwhealth.org/vaccine. UHS will only be able to provide vaccines to employees and students.
UHS was approved as a vaccinator on Dec. 30 , 2020 and on Jan. 5, 2021 began administering vaccine to Phase 1a eligible individuals on campus, which includes those with direct contact with COVID-19 patients or direct contact with virus or virus specimens, such as researchers studying the virus or employees testing COVID-19 samples.
Per DHS guidance, campus also recently began vaccinating members of UW Police Department under the start of Phase 1b. UW Health is vaccinating employees of UW-Madison who have dual employment with the health system.
UW-Madison’s vaccination efforts are dependent upon availability of vaccine, as well as state and federal guidance, which determine who is eligible on what timeline.
Since early January, campus has received both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which are administered in two doses. The second dose of Moderna vaccine is given 28 days after the first while the interval between Pfizer vaccine doses is 21 days. The second dose of both vaccines is required for the full protection they offer, and the two vaccines cannot be used interchangeably.
This week, the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee issued recommendations to DHS to determine the remaining Phase 1b eligible population. More information can be found on DHS’s COVID-19 vaccine site: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm.
Once DHS announces final guidance, UW-Madison will notify anyone in the campus community who fit the criteria. However, it may be several weeks before vaccine supply is available to everyone authorized to receive it.
While serious side effects are rare and both vaccines are considered safe and highly effective, some people experience side effects such as headache, fever and chills after receiving COVID-19 vaccine. For more information about side effects and how to manage them, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html.
UHS strongly encourages everyone who is eligible and has not already been offered vaccine by another provider to schedule their appointment and receive the first dose of vaccine as soon as possible. Appointment options will be based on vaccine availability. Public health experts say that a significant proportion of people must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, which limits spread of the virus to vulnerable people. Vaccination helps ensure you protect yourself, your friends and family, and the campus community from COVID-19.
This week, Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin National Guard also announced the launch of a Mobile Vaccination Program to help vaccinate eligible people throughout Wisconsin. Student volunteers from UW System, including UW-Madison nursing and pharmacy students, are part of the effort.