Educators, grocery store workers, public transit workers, incarcerated individuals among next to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin health officials announced Tuesday which groups will be eligible next to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the groups will be eligible for vaccination around March 1, depending on the state’s vaccine supply from the federal government.

Educators, child care workers, food supply chain workers, public transit workers, people enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, incarcerated individuals, and more.

As the vaccine rollout continues, state health officials are asking the public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequently washing hands.

A full list of soon-to-be eligible groups is available below:

Educators and Child Care

  • All staff in regulated child care, public and private school programs, out-of-school time programs, virtual learning support, and community learning center programs.
  • All staff in Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs.
  • All staff in preschool and Head Start through K-12 education settings.
  • Faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact.

Individuals Enrolled in Medicaid Long-Term Care Programs

  • Members of Family Care and Family Care Partnership and participants in IRIS: Family Care members and IRIS participants often have underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Participants in Wisconsin’s Children’s Long-Term Support Waiver and Katie Beckett programs are likewise eligible if they meet age requirements for the vaccine.

Some Public Facing Essential Workers

  • 911 operators
  • Utility and communications infrastructure
    • Workers who cannot socially distance and are responsible for the fundamental processes and facilities that ensure electric, natural gas, steam, water, wastewater, internet, and telecommunications services are built, maintained, generated, distributed, and delivered to customers.
  • Public Transit
    • Drivers who have frequent close contact with members of the public, limited to:
    • public and commercial intercity bus transportation services
    • municipal public transit services
    • those employed by specialized transit services for seniors, disabled persons, and low-income persons

Food Supply Chain

  • Agricultural production workers, such as farm owners and other farm employees.
  • Critical workers who provide on-site support to multiple agricultural operations, such as livestock breeding and insemination providers, farm labor contractors, crop support providers, and livestock veterinarians.
  • Food production workers, such as dairy plant employees, fruit and vegetable processing plant employees, and animal slaughtering and processing employees.
  • Retail food workers, such as employees at grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations that also sell groceries.
  • Hunger relief personnel, including people involved in charitable food distribution, community food and housing providers, social services employees who are involved in food distribution, and emergency relief workers.

Non-Frontline Health Care Essential Personnel

The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee defines non-frontline health care workers as those who do not work directly with patients but are essential to a health system’s operation.

The following groups will be eligible under SDMAC’s definition:

  • Public health
  • Emergency management
  • Cyber security
  • Health care critical supply chain functions, including the production, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccine
  • Support roles, such as cleaning, HVAC, and refrigeration, critical to health system function

Congregate Living Facility Staff and Residents

Staff and residents of congregate living facilities. Some settings in this group may be non-voluntary or provide services to marginalized populations – meaning residents do not have the resources or choice to mitigate exposure. According to SDMAC’s guidance, congregate living facility staff and residents include those living or working in:

  • Employer-based housing: Housing provided by an employer for three or more unrelated individuals that share bedrooms.
  • Housing serving the elderly or people with disabilities: Residents of housing that meets the definitions of an adult family home, independent living apartments, community-based residential facility, residential care complex, state center for the disabled, mental health institute, and county-based center for the disabled.
  • Shelters: Shelter provided to those who are homeless and/or in need of protection (for example, domestic violence shelters).
  • Transitional housing: A project that is designed to provide housing and appropriate supportive services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living when such facilities include shared bedrooms.
  • Incarcerated individuals: Individuals in jails, prisons, and mental health institutes.

For more information about the state’s vaccine rollout, visit DHS’s vaccine webpage.