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SSM Health begins vaccinating seniors, expands vaccination sites, calls for patience

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MADISON – SSM Health has begun vaccinating people over age 65 against Covid-19, after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services last week gave the okay to do so.

SSM Health additionally said in a release today that it will open five more clinic-based vaccination sites soon in Baraboo, Janesville and Monroe. Vaccination clinic hours will also be expanded to offer weekend appointments.

All the above is dependent on continuing vaccine shipments.

“Our ability to vaccinate eligible groups depends on our supply of the COVID-19 vaccines. We are hopeful that our supply will continue to come in weekly shipments as it is available from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services,” SSM Health Regional Vice President of Pharmacy Services Mo Kharbat said in the release today. “We want everyone who is eligible for a vaccine to know that we are working very hard to schedule appointments and get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we can.”

SSM Health is reaching out to eligible patients with scheduling information, it said. It has roughly 120,000 patients in the over 65 age group, and thus expects “it will require several weeks to vaccinate all of them who are willing.”

Due to that large number, it said it will be vaccinating seniors in phases, starting with those age 75 and older “as they are at a higher risk for serious complications and hospitalization due to COVID-19,” the release said. “As we proceed, we will add scheduling for our patients ages 65 and older, being mindful of those with underlying conditions,” it said.

“We realize that many people are eager to receive the vaccine, but it will take time and we appreciate your patience,” Kharbat added.

Technical difficulties are accompanying interest in the vaccine, SSM Health said.

“Our MyChart and phone lines are being utilized more than normal during this time. If you experience technical difficulties, we ask that you please try again later,” the release said.

SSM Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving communities across the Midwest. It has more than 40,000 employees and physicians.

More information about its vaccine rollout can be found at www.ssmhealth.com/about

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