The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) in its update for Monday showed a preliminary figure of 165,370 state residents completing the two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series.
As more people in Wisconsin become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, more locations to get immunized are beginning to emerge. One local business is looking forward to being part of that list of locations.
Pharmacist Addy Hargarten with Waterloo’s Hometown Pharmacy is hoping to start administering the vaccine to people beginning in early March. However, when the pharmacy, located at 806 N. Monroe St., will begin receiving doses is entirely up to the state.
“The state of Wisconsin is allocated a certain number of vaccinations per week and each vaccinator in the state submits a survey requesting vaccine and then the state uses an algorithm to allocate vaccine to different vaccinators as they see fit,” Hargarten said.
According to the DHS, as of Feb. 2, Wisconsin had 770,000 vaccinations on order with 129,550 in transit.
Hargarten said the state is still trying to catch up with supplying vaccines to long-term care facilities and getting doses into the arms of health care workers.
“We were told to expect early March that we would start to be allocated vaccines,” she said.
The Hometown Pharmacies throughout the state as a group decided it would be best to provide the vaccine as a way to offer more local access.
Hargarten said once the Waterloo pharmacy is allocated a batch of vaccines, there would be additional people available to help immunize individuals to ensure the doses are used before expiring. According to reports, the Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna brand vaccines must both be used within six hours after the vial is punctured. The Pfizer-Biontech vaccine can be refrigerated for five days after thawing before it needs to be used while the Moderna version can be refrigerated for up to 30 days after being thawed before it must be used.
While the local pharmacy doesn’t have the vaccine yet, people can sign up at https://hometownpharmacyrx.com/Covid-19-Vaccine to be put on a waitlist. Each of the participating Hometown Pharmacies has its own waitlist. Hargarten said people have already signed up on the Waterloo waitlist.
“I think a lot of people are putting their names on different waitlists just so they have different options when the vaccine becomes available,” she said.
Currently, the waitlist form asks if the individual signing up falls within one of the categories such as healthcare worker, ages 75 and older, frontline essential worker, age 65-74, or age 16-64 with a high-risk medical condition.
People are also asked to supply at least a phone number, and email address if available, so the pharmacy can contact them once the vaccine is available at the Waterloo location.
“We’ll just call down that waitlist and make appointments for them to come in,” the pharmacist said. “We’ll work our way down the phases, starting with 1a, and then who is eligible next.”
Hargarten is looking forward to being able to offer the immunization “so more people can get vaccinated and we can hopefully get back more to normal.”