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With the recent news that the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination has begun, Public Health Madison & Dane County, county health systems, and UW–Madison are here to help answer questions.

On January 26, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released details about the next phase (phase 1b) of vaccinations. Newly eligible groups are approved to begin receiving vaccines starting March 1, pending availability:

  • Preschool, Head Start, Kindergarten to 12th grade educators and childcare workers, and higher education faculty and staff with direct student contact
  • Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
  • Some public facing essential workers (9-1-1 operators, utility and communications infrastructure workers, public transit workers, food supply chain workers)
  • Non-frontline healthcare essential personnel, and facility staff and residents in congregate living facilities (excluding dormitories and co-ops).

Police and fire department personnel, correctional staff and people 65 years old and older are currently being vaccinated. For a detailed list of these groups, please visit the DHS website. Individuals eligible under Phase 1a also continue to receive vaccine.

Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) will continue to partner with Dane County health systems to deliver the vaccines to the many thousands of people eligible in this phase of vaccine distribution.

People will receive further information from their employers and local health systems as we work collaboratively to vaccinate people as quickly as possible. PHMDC asks that Dane County organizations who employ individuals that meet the phase 1b definition and are not yet matched with a vaccinator submit their information on the PHMDC website.

Given the large number of people in phase 1b, it may take several weeks to be contacted for vaccinations once eligibility begins. Calling your provider directly will not speed up the scheduling process and may tie up phone lines needed for those who need immediate care. Please watch PHMDC’s website for general updates and your providers’ websites for updates on when vaccinations will become available. UW–Madison will contact individuals via their university email addresses with additional information.

If you do not have health insurance and are currently eligible for vaccine, the PHMDC website has information on how to sign up for a vaccine.

The vaccines currently authorized are from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective and have received emergency use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Each vaccine requires two doses to be fully effective and the vaccines are not interchangeable. You must receive your second dose at the same provider as the first dose. The Pfizer vaccine requires a 21-day period between doses, while the Moderna vaccine requires a 28-day waiting period.  So, even if you have received a first dose of the vaccine, it is still important that you:

  • Don’t gather with people outside your own household and if you must, wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart, and follow public health orders on gathering limits.
  • Wear a mask when in public, even in outdoor locations.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing completely.
  • Stay home if you have symptoms and get tested.

Everyone should continue to follow these guidelines, even after receiving two doses of vaccine, until further guidance is issued by PHMDC or DHS.


Health & Safety