All Wisconsinites 16+ to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on April 5

MADISON, Wis. — All Wisconsinites ages 16 and up will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting April 5.

Gov. Tony Evers made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, just a day after the state hit the milestone of more than 1 million residents being fully vaccinated.

“It won’t all happen at once, but I know I’m not alone in feeling the hope, excitement and relief that we all have anxiously awaited for this year,” Evers said during a Wisconsin Department of Health Services press briefing on Tuesday.

Evers went on to say that while eligibility is expanding, supply, while steady, is still limited. That means Wisconsinites will need to be patient while trying to schedule an appointment.

State health officials said some areas around the state may have a higher demand than others. Vaccinators will prioritize those who were previously eligible before moving on to the general public, according to a news release.

As people wait to schedule their vaccination appointments, they should continue to follow CDC guidelines, mask up and avoid gathering with people from multiple households. DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said following the guidelines is just as important as ever now that variants of the coronavirus are spreading throughout the state.

“With confirmation that all three variants are present in Wisconsin, we must increase our efforts to stop the spread by masking up and getting vaccinated as soon as possible, not only to protect ourselves, but to protect our loved ones, our friends and our co-workers from infection,” Van Dijk said. “We have a window of opportunity to prevent further surges, and even more potentially dangerous variants. So mask up, and get vaccinated, Wisconsin.”

Hours before the announcement, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced seven additional pharmacy chains will start receiving vaccines this week through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Those searching for a vaccination appointment can use DHS’ vaccine provider map to find a vaccination site close to them. More information about where to find and schedule a vaccine appointment is available on DHS’ website.

On Monday, President Joe Biden announced a new goal of making the vast majority of adults in the U.S. eligible for vaccination by April 19. He previously set a goal of May 1.

Earlier this month, eligibility opened up to an estimated 2 million Wisconsinites when DHS opted to make residents with certain medical conditions eligible.

Evers and state health officials held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to answer questions about advancing eligibility. Watch the full press conference below.

This is a breaking story that will be updated.