The Jefferson County Health Department launched its first COVID-19 vaccine clinics last week and officials are calling the project a great success.
A total of 274 individuals were vaccinated on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 523 on Thursday, Jan. 21 and an additional 54 on Friday, Jan. 22.
“Though we initially planned to vaccinate a total of 300 individuals over the first two days, we saw we were able to vaccinate a higher number of individuals and quickly scaled our capacity to vaccinate more individuals than we originally anticipated,” Jefferson County Health Department Director Gail Scott said. “Among those we vaccinated were healthcare workers from various settings, long-term care facility staff, police and other public safety personnel and small groups of school staff who were prioritized to receive vaccine given their greater exposure and risk. This was a great milestone for our county and residents as we continue an organized and efficient rollout of vaccine with the hope that the end of this pandemic is in sight.”
Scott said the county continues to vaccinate those Phase 1A individuals approved to receive vaccine.
On Jan. 19, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that individuals aged 65 or older would be eligible for the vaccine beginning on Jan. 25. Eligible individuals should visit the county website or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for vaccination.
Scott said details regarding which individuals will be eligible in Phase 1B to receive vaccine have not been published at this time. The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee has sent those recommendations to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Scott said the county will move forward with registering those individuals to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Details on how to do that will be posted on the county’s website, dashboard and social media.
There are currently no wait lists to register individuals who may be in future phases at this time. The reason for this is that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is currently finalizing a system to coordinate registration and appointments.
“We do not intend to create a registry of all individuals who wish to be vaccinated and are only registering those who are currently eligible for vaccination,” Scott said.
The public, including those who have been vaccinated, are asked to be patient and to continue everyday precautions consistently to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including limiting gatherings, wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and washing hands frequently.
“This will help us to manage any additional spread of the virus while vaccination efforts continue,” Scott said.
She added that she and her colleagues know this is a frustrating, anxious time for many people.
“It has been a long road here, and the prospect of being vaccinated and feeling a sense of protection from potential illness is exciting,” she said. “Know that Jefferson County is striving to vaccinate safely, efficiently and in a prioritized manner that will reduce the burden of new cases and severe illness from COVID-19 as best as possible. We are assessing our procedures from these past clinics to improve registration, scheduling, and communication for our future clinics.”
Scott said the health department is heading up a Vaccine Task Force and working with all partners, such as local pharmacies and medical providers, in Jefferson County who registered to administer the vaccine. If any one partner has additional doses of vaccine, the department will work together to get those administered as quickly as possible.
Members of the public are encouraged to stay up to date on vaccine information by visiting the Jefferson County COVID-19 Vaccine web page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services websites. Jefferson County organizations or individuals who have questions about eligibility can email the Health Department at Vaccine@jeffersoncountywi.gov.
JCHD asks that individuals in Jefferson County who meet the Phase 1A criteria, and organizations who employ such individuals, email the department at Vaccine@jeffersoncountywi.gov.