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Shortfalls in the amount of COVID-19 vaccine allocated by the state to Dane County will push back efforts to vaccinate teachers and childcare staff that were expected to begin as early as next week at the Alliant Energy Center.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has established a new process for allocating vaccine to Wisconsin’s teachers and childcare workers. While the state made these groups eligible to receive vaccine beginning March 1, this process is expected to delay the start of vaccinations by at least two weeks.

Under this new allocation model, the county received only 12% of its requested vaccine doses this week, none of which is permitted for use with K-12 educators or childcare providers yet. The limited vaccine allocated to Public Health Madison & Dane County this week and next week will be used to continue to vaccinate the remaining frontline healthcare workers and 65-years-old and older population, per DHS guidelines.

At this point, without a dedicated source of vaccine for teachers, any doses used for vaccinating teachers would be taken from previous eligible groups, particularly the 65-years-old and older group.

Public Health Madison & Dane County will remain in close contact with school and childcare administrators about staff vaccination plans. They will provide information about the start of vaccinations will be provided by school districts and childcare facilities to their educators and staff.

Beginning March 1, due to the limited availability of vaccine supply, vaccinators are being asked to prioritize individuals 65 and over, education staff, and child care workers. Other groups that became eligible March 1, including individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline essential health care personnel, and facility staff and residents in congregate living settings are not expected to be vaccinated until April or May.

“It is important to remember that though groups are eligible for vaccination on March 1, it doesn’t mean vaccines will be provided to us by March 1,” said Janel Heinrich, Director, Public Health Madison & Dane County.