Johnson & Johnson vaccine allows Dane Co. health officials move up date for teacher vaccinations

Alliant

MADISON, Wis. — Public health officials in Dane County say the availability of a third COVID-19 vaccine is allowing them to move up plans to vaccinate teachers and other school staff at the Alliant Energy Center, with vaccinations beginning next week.

Public Health Madison and Dane County previously announced plans to use the Alliant Energy Center as a mass vaccination site for the county’s teachers and school staff when they became eligible for the vaccine this month. But health officials later had to walk that back last week and announce a delay of at least two weeks after not getting the supply they needed.

But with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine now being approved in the United States, PHMDC says they’ll now receive at least 7,900 doses of that vaccine, which will be used to prioritize teachers, school staff and childcare providers. Health officials say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is ideal for teachers because they will not need to schedule a time to receive a second dose.

“We are thrilled that we will be able to vaccinate school and childcare staff sooner,” PHMDC director Janel Heinrich said in a statement announcing the change. “The authorization of a third vaccine and it’s quick availability to us means we were able to move up our timetable. This supply increase also means that other eligible groups will be able to get vaccine sooner.”

The vaccinations will begin at the Alliant Energy Center starting on March 9th and will run through the week. PHMDC says it has not received vaccine allocation for the following week yet, but they hope it will allow the rest of the county’s teachers to receive the shot by March 21st.

The announcement comes after the Madison Metropolitan School District announced Thursday morning it had also reached an agreement with SSM Health to supply another 1,200 doses of the vaccine to its staff.