UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN–MADISON: As supply allows, UHS offers COVID-19 vaccines to more eligible members of campus

On March 1, additional people in the state of Wisconsin became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. University Health Services is offering vaccines as quickly as possible to members of the campus community who meet eligibility requirements and as vaccine supply permits. UHS will email you when an appointment is available for you – please continue to check your wisc.edu email.

Anyone who meets state eligibility may also make vaccine appointments through their health care providers or other vaccination providers in the community.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, newly eligible groups include:

Staff in education settings, such as those in childcare and faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact;
Food supply chain personnel;
Some utility and communications infrastructure workers;
Public transit employees; and
Non-frontline health care essential personnel.
At UW–Madison, there are many more individuals who meet current eligibility than there are vaccines available right now. UHS receives an allocation of vaccines from the state each week, which determines how many appointments campus can offer.

Because UHS cannot offer appointments immediately to everyone eligible, campus is using prioritization guidelines provided by the state, which consider both risk of exposure and vulnerability to COVID-19.

As of this week, UHS is able to offer appointments to:

Faculty, staff and teaching assistants currently engaged in in-person instruction, ages 45 and older
Housing and Dining staff ages 45 and older
All childcare and custodial staff
Student teachers participating in K-12 instruction are being vaccinated by Public Health Madison and Dane County.

UHS continues to offer vaccine to previously eligible individuals, which includes those serving direct patient care roles, those with direct exposure to the virus or virus samples, and to active members of campus age 65 and older. Since early January, UHS has provided nearly 10,000 shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to employees and students.

Vaccine supply will likely increase by next month, and UHS expects to offer vaccine to all eligible faculty and staff by late May. All students are expected to have access to vaccine by the start of the fall semester.

“We want to get shots in arms as quickly as we can,” says Carol Griggs, director of operations at UHS. “We know many people on campus are eager to be vaccinated and we ask for a little more patience until more vaccines are available.”

UHS, the Office of Human Resources and others have worked with the Office of the Provost and individual schools and colleges to identify eligible members of campus. UHS has also evaluated eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

If you have not received an email inviting you to make a vaccine appointment, it’s likely because the university has not yet received enough vaccine to offer it to your population. However, inquiries sent to UHS will be reviewed. Please be patient as a small number of staff are reviewing a high volume of emails.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses for the full protection they offer. A third vaccine from Johnson and Johnson is a one-shot vaccine. All three vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a special designation to allow safe and effective medical treatments to be used in times of urgency, such as during a pandemic.

The current COVID-19 vaccines have been provided to tens of millions of Americans since December 2020 and are highly safe and highly effective at preventing vaccinated people from contracting COVID-19, or from developing severe disease. A small number of people may still contract the disease after being vaccinated but are far less likely to require hospitalization. There is early evidence that vaccines have also drastically reduced death rates from COVID-19.

“We encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they are given the opportunity,” says Jake Baggott, associate vice chancellor and executive director of UHS. “If you are unsure whether the vaccine is right for you, talk to your supervisor, your divisional disability representative, or a trusted colleague who has been vaccinated. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and those you love from the disease.”

COVID-19 vaccination is not currently required for UW–Madison students or employees, though employees are welcome to make vaccine appointments on work time. UHS is providing modified clinic hours and additional support to second and third shift workers. Once you are invited to make a vaccine appointment you will not lose your opportunity if you do not make one right away.

Comments are closed.