By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
Read below for information about the new eligibility criteria for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. As of early morning on Sunday, March 21, some appointments are available on Wednesday, March 24 at the Whitewater Walgreens. See the bottom of this post for further information.
Beginning Monday, March 22, individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions that have a greater risk of severe infection from COVID-19 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those groups can be found on the DHS COVID-19 vaccination page. The decision is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and supported by Wisconsin’s medical experts.
Banner note: The most common factor for eligibility is those whose BMI (body mass index) classifies them as “overweight,” or having “obesity.” This link provides a BMI calculator in which a person simply enters their height and weight. According to this site, approximately two-thirds of adults in Wisconsin fit this criteria.
Eligibility includes individuals with the following conditions:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Liver disease
- Neurologic conditions, such as intellectual disabilities and dementia
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
- Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
- Sickle cell disease
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
Individuals with these medical conditions will have multiple vaccination options, including through community-based clinics, health care providers, local health departments, and pharmacies.
Additionally, DHS updated eligibility to include all clergy, restaurant workers (as part of the food supply eligibility group) and further expanded public safety to include judges, prosecutors and district attorneys in addition to public defenders.
You must live, work, or study in Wisconsin.
Banner note: www.vaccinefinder.org is a site where users may enter their zip code to find locations where vaccine appointments may be available. One may, if desired, specify which of the three vaccines they prefer. If you are directed to Walgreens, you will need to sign in to an existing account or establish a new one. When you reach the page that says, “See if you’re eligible in Wisconsin,” if you are under age 65 and qualify due to one of the above reasons, check “high risk medical condition.” The Whitewater Walmart was also offering the vaccine on a drive-through basis last week, but does not appear to have any appointments at this time.