by CHRIS ROGERS
Starting on Monday, all Wisconsinites 16 and older will eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. While supplies are very limited, there are numerous local vaccination sites where Wisconsin residents have a shot at snagging an appointment.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced the move on Tuesday, encouraging Wisconsinites to seek out vaccination appointments while acknowledging “it won’t all happen at once.” Evers said, “Remember, supply is still limited, so please be patient and be kind to our vaccine providers. Believe me, they want to get you signed up and get shots in your arms just as much as you want to get them and they are working tirelessly to do so.”
Since vaccines were first authorized in December, 1.1 million Wisconsinites — 19 percent of the residents over 16 — have been fully vaccinated, leaving 4.7 million people left to go. More than 50 percent of residents over 65 have been fully immunized, according to the Department of Health Services (DHS).
Evers and DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk urged Wisconsinites to keep practicing COVID precautions, citing rising case numbers and the arrival of more-contagious variants. “This pandemic is not over,” Evers said, adding, “Folks, don’t give up now. Don’t let the COVID-19 fatigue get the best of you when we are this close to the finish line. With eligibility opening up to all Wisconsinites next week and especially with the holiday weekend upon us, we need Wisconsinites to be as vigilant as ever.”
Also this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Evers’ statewide mask mandate as unconstitutional.
“We need to continue doing our part to stop the spread,” Van Dijk stated. “Keep washing your hands well. Keep physically distancing. Keep limiting your interactions and keep wearing a mask when you’re out, even if you are fully vaccinated,” she advised. Ahead of Easter weekend, she added, “Traveling is still not a safe activity, and gathering for a meal inside should only happen if everyone at the table is fully vaccinated.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that fully vaccinated people may gather indoors without masks with no more than one other household, provided no one is at heightened risk of severe COVID. High-risk factors include being 65 and older or having underlying medical conditions such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, or being immunocompromised.
Where to get vaccines in Wisconsin
There are numerous vaccination clinics in the local area, each with its own signup system or systems:
- Buffalo County - Buffalo County Highway Department, S1672 Highway 37, Alma - To signup for Buffalo County’s vaccination clinic, fill out a vaccine interest form. For previously eligible priority groups (seniors, people with high-risk medical conditions, essential workers), visit https://hipaa.jotform.com/210545112790145. For the general public, visit https://hipaa.jotform.com/210885191888066. For people without internet access, call 608-685-441 ext. 1, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
- Trempealeau County - To signup, fill out a vaccine interest form at https://hipaa.jotform.com/210336562588157 or, for people without internet access, leave a message at 715-538-2311 ext. 220.
- Mayo Clinic Health System - Oakridge - 13025 Eighth Street, Osseo - There are different registration systems for different eligibility groups. Visit www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/covid-19-nwwi-vaccination-phase for more information.
- Tri-County Memorial Hospital - 18601 Lincoln Street, Whitehall - Gundersen Health System’s vaccine signups are by invitation only currently. Visit www.gundersenhealth.org/covid19 for more details.
- DHS vaccination clinic at La Crosse County - To sign up visit vaccinate.wi.gov.
- More options - A full listing of vaccination sites in Wisconsin is available at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-map.htm.