‘So much enthusiasm, relief, appreciation’: Thousands of educators begin vaccination process at Alliant Energy Center

MADISON, Wis. — Tuesday came as a relief for many educators who have been waiting their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Public Health Madison Dane County announced last week that it would begin offering Johnson & Johnson vaccines to educators at the Alliant Energy Center. The first day of the vaccination process Tuesday afternoon held a steady stream of traffic from educators around the area including maintenance worker in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District Joel Faren.

“I’m real excited,” Faren said. “It’s just going to be great getting everything back to normal as quick as we can. It’s great seeing some kids back in the building now. Just looking forward to getting back to normal.”

Memorial High School teacher Catherine Patton also expressed relief as she left the Alliant Energy Center fully vaccinated.

“I’m super relieved and excited that I get the Johnson & Johnson which is just a one and done which is great!” Patton said.

Janel Heinrich, Public Health Madison Dane County director, said those scheduling vaccines can expect to wait up to 90 minutes to get in and out, which includes the time they are asking patients to wait in the parking lot after getting vaccinated to ensure they don’t experience any adverse side effects.

Heinrich said they are accepting appointments through Sunday for this group. So far, about 13% of Dane County has been fully vaccinated. With 6,000 doses available to give out to educators this week and an additional 6,000 available to give out next week, Heinrich said she is expecting that 13% figure to make a significant jump.

“This week we have about 65 percent of the folks that we offered vaccines to have signed up for appointments,” Heinrich said.

There are still 2,000 appointment slots available to educators this week. The Alliant Energy Center will be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. this week.

All eight lanes in the building are now being utilized solely for vaccinations. COVID-19 testing has been moved to the Colosseum building. People can still enter at the Rimrock Road entrance and follow signs for either vaccines or testing.