Dane Co. health officials say teacher vaccinations delayed by at least two weeks

Alliant

MADISON, Wis. — Even though teachers and educators will be among those prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines starting March 1st, public health officials in Dane County say a supply shortfall means a mass vaccination effort for them at the Alliant Energy Center will be delayed for at least two weeks.

Public Health Madison & Dane County announced plans last week to vaccinate large amounts of teachers and educators at the Alliant Energy Center once they became eligible on Monday. PHMDC had requested a total of 14,000 doses — 7,000 each for the week of March 1st and March 8th — to supply the effort, which was expected to take between 6 and 8 weeks to finish.

But PHMDC says the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has changed the way they allocate the vaccine to teachers and childcare workers, which resulted in PHMDC receiving just 12% of the doses they asked for, none of which were approved to be used on vaccinating educators or childcare providers.

“It is important to remember that though groups are eligible for vaccination on March 1, it doesn’t mean vaccines will be provided to us by March 1,” said PHMDC director Janel Heinrich.

During a briefing Thursday, DHS deputy secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said all local health departments were asked to submit their plans for vaccinating educators and childcare workers by today. She says DHS will now determine how it will make those allocations over the next six weeks using metrics like student demographics in its formula.

“Everybody thought they’d be able to do everyone the first few weeks of March, and of course that is simply not feasible given the vaccine supply we have here,” Willems Van Dijk said.

Willems Van Dijk stressed that this does not mean teachers are unable to get the shot starting March 1st. She said if local health officials have the vaccine doses to do so, they are welcome to start vaccinating teachers on Monday.

PHMDC says they will use the vaccine doses they do get in the next couple weeks to continue to vaccinate previously-eligible groups, like people aged 65 and older.