State to launch online portal to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments

MADISON, Wis. — On February 15, 10 Wisconsin communities will be the first to use an online portal to schedule appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services said it is partnering with Microsoft to roll out the portal and will take several weeks to complete to help “Wisconsinize” it. The first week of its launch will help work out any kinks it may experience. The week after it launches, the site will be accessible to more communities in the state.

UW Health’s lead physician for vaccine workstream Dr. Matt Anderson said the portal could be a big help.

“Having that and being able to have where the state has said this individual with this contact information is eligible to get the vaccine takes a lot of pressure of health systems who are trying to balance the work of taking care of patients while also getting as many shots in arms as possible.”

The portal will ask users a series of questions to determine eligibility. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, the portal will allow you to choose a location near you to set up an appointment. If you are not eligible to receive the vaccine yet, you will be put on a waitlist and will be notified when you can set up an appointment.

Those who are approved will receive an email with a code to show at the appointment.

“What it will do is allow us to react to supply changes as quickly as possible,” Anderson said. “If you have a pre-registered list and you all of a sudden get double the number of vaccines, it enables you to schedule those people more quickly.”

DHS says the portal will have a similar look and feel to the COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect site.

The state’s biggest hurdle after the portal rolls out will still be getting enough vaccines to distribute. They said community distribution sites may still be limited in their hours of operation because of this.