Wisconsin will make everyone in the state who is 16 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting next week, Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday.
Evers, a Democrat, announced the change in a tweet. Currently health care workers, people over 65, nursing home residents and staff, educators and people with existing health conditions are eligible. That will expand to everyone 16 and older starting Monday, April 5.
State health officials previously had planned to open vaccinations to the general public on May 1.
More than 1 million people in the state, or about 17% of Wisconsin’s population, had completed vaccinations as of this Monday, according to state health officials.
The state Department of Health Services announced Tuesday that seven more pharmacy chains will receive vaccine this week as part of the federal retail pharmacy program. They are Costco; CVS; Hy-Vee; Good Neighbor and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation; Health Mart; Medicine Shoppe and Cardinal Health; and Topco. The Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, which includes some Hometown Pharmacies, and Walmart will receive additional doses, allowing them to offer vaccinations at more locations.
A number of pharmacy chains in Wisconsin already participate in the federal program, including CPESN and Walmart; Kroger, Managed Health Care Associates; Meijer; and Walgreens.
The department said 595 pharmacies will be able to order nearly 95,000 first doses through the federal government. That’s on top of the state’s total allocation and will include the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
CVS will start scheduling appointments Tuesday with Costco following suit by Friday. People can locate participating pharmacies and schedule appointments by visiting the CVS, Costco or Hy-Vee websites or by calling local pharmacies in the other chains. People also can find participating pharmacies and schedule appointments through the state health department’s website.