Sauk Prairie Healthcare explains its process for Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccination

Sauk Prairie Healthcare

Photo via Sauk Prairie Healthcare

In keeping with Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) guidance, Sauk Prairie Healthcare is continuing to prioritize those age 65 or older for the COVID19 vaccine, while also serving as a vaccinator for educators and child care through the coordination of local health departments.

“For us, vaccine supply continues to be the limiting factor,” said Shawn Lerch, CEO of Sauk Prairie Healthcare. “We are prepared to vaccinate 10 times as many people each week, but instead have been encouraging area residents to get the vaccine wherever they can get in soonest. It’s frustrating, because we’d like to be able get people vaccinated sooner than supply has allowed.”

On March 1, the DHS released more groups to be eligible for the COVID19 vaccine. Due to the limited supply of vaccine doses, DHS has directed that people age 65 and older, educators, and child care workers be prioritized for the vaccine before others in the 1B group.

According to DHS, each local health department has submitted a local-specific plan to DHS detailing how they will vaccinate staff of K-12 schools and child care in their communities. DHS will be setting aside a portion of vaccine doses each week for educators beginning the week of March 15. Sauk Prairie Healthcare has been identified as the vaccinator for some of the educators in Sauk and Columbia Counties, and will work directly with a point of contact at those school districts. Those employed at schools should work directly with their employer to understand their vaccination plan.

“As of this date, we are still learning the details surrounding the vaccination of child care staff ,” said Lerch. “It’s our understanding that county public health departments have begun the process of contacting regulated child cares to begin planning for how that group will receive vaccinations. We stand by ready to assist if needed.”

Others in Phase 1B should not anticipate that vaccine will be available to them until mid-April. These groups include: individuals enrolled in Medicaid Long-Term Care programs; some public facing essential workers, including 911 operators, utility and communications infrastructure, public transit, and food supply chain; non-frontline essential healthcare personnel; and congregate living facility staff and residents.