DHS Weekly COVID-19 Response and Vaccination Newsletter

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COVID-19 Response and Vaccination Update

Weekly Update: March 19, 2021

Vaccination Rollout

We have come a long way since mid-December, when Wisconsin received the first shipment of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, we have administered well over 2 million doses, and our state is a leader in vaccine administration and series completion. Your patience and persistence – and the hard work of our vaccine team and our network of vaccine providers and public health officials across the state - is all paying off. As we look towards May, when every resident of Wisconsin age 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine, let’s keep up that patience and that persistence. And get ready, because the more people vaccinated in our state, the safer we will be.

Vaccine Eligibility Timeline



People with Certain Medical Conditions

On Tuesday, Gov. Evers and DHS announced that individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 22, which is earlier than previously expected. This eligibility group includes individuals with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The next eligibility group which will begin March 22, includes individuals age 16 and older with the following medical conditions:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • 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)
  • Pregnancy
  • 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)

DHS also clarified current eligibility to include:

  • all clergy,
  • restaurant workers, and
  • judges, prosecutors, and other essential criminal court personnel, in addition to public defenders.

If you are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and need to learn more, the following resources are available on the DHS website:

Wisconsin Adds More Partners to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program

DHS announced that four new pharmacy partners in Wisconsin started receiving vaccine this week as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. This includes the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN), which includes some Hometown Pharmacies, Managed Health Care Associates, Meijer, and Walmart who join Kroger and Walgreens. The program is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and national pharmacy and independent pharmacy networks.

To find a participating pharmacy near you and to schedule a vaccination appointment, visit the COVID-19 vaccine provider map or call 1-844-684-1064. Individuals eligible for the vaccine, can also contact these pharmacies directly to register for and schedule a vaccination appointment:

FEMA Support for Mass Vaccination Clinic Sites

Through joint federal, state, and local partnerships, Gov. Tony Evers announced that federal support will begin on March 15 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee and on April 8 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena for COVID-19 vaccinations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 5 will coordinate staffing support to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Enhanced COVID-19 Data Cleaning Efforts

Data is the tool that drives decisions for public health. And it has been vitally important to inform our decision-making process during the pandemic. As we continue to provide the highest quality, transparent data, DHS announced we are ramping up data cleaning efforts as decreasing cases have allowed for increased capacity to focus on data quality.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

The pandemic has highlighted health inequities across the nation and in Wisconsin. COVID-19 has been hard on everyone, but data shows that communities of color have experienced higher rates of infection, hospitalizations, and death from the virus.

Many systemic barriers and factors drive these health inequities including job opportunities, income, housing, education, and accessibility to quality health care services. These factors are called “social determinants of health” and have been and continue to be shaped by structural racism and discrimination. In turn, this helps explain why marginalized populations—especially Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Wisconsinites—have been disproportionately impacted  by COVID-19.

DHS continues to focus resources and made intentional decisions to ensure the health and safety of all Wisconsinites regardless of race, ethnicity, or zip code. It is reflected in our commitments to broad access to community testing sites, multi-lingual contact tracing, translation of our educational materials, and investing $6.1 million to help advance equity in the vaccination initiative.

We encourage everyone to be part of centering health equity in our communities and be part of ensuring that everyone has the opportunities, resources, and supports needed to stay safe and health during the pandemic.

Today's Vaccine Distribution Summary

Check out the latest data about Wisconsin's vaccination effort. DHS updates the allocated, ordered, and in transit numbers every Tuesday, and the administered number is updated every weekday at 2 p.m.

  • Allocated: 2,406,245 doses
  • Ordered: 2,006,295 doses
  • In transit: 316,790 doses
  • Administered: 2,219,237 doses

Note: “Allocated” is the total number of all COVID-19 vaccine doses made available to Wisconsin by the federal government but may not be available to order because they include doses allocated for the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program.

COVID-19 by the Numbers

Resources for Wisconsinites Eligible to Get the Vaccine

If you are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and need to learn more, the following resources are available on the DHS website:

COVID-19 Resources

Facebook Live chat with mental health experts

Resilient Wisconsin: Facebook Live on Monday, March 22

DHS is planning a Facebook Live on Monday, March 22 at 1:30 p.m. to answer your questions about coping during these challenging times. Send questions you would like answered to DHSResilientWI@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Featured guests include: Scott Webb, Trauma-Informed Care Coordinator and member of the Resilient Wisconsin team at DHS and Monica Caldwell, Director of Mental Health Programs for RISE.

Learn More about COVID-19 Vaccines

New resources:

Avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams:

Our partners at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) are warning Wisconsinites of scammers who are trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to steal money and personally identifiable information. Learn how to protect yourself and or loved one from potential vaccine fraud.

Communicating in other languages

Other Languages, Graphics, and Print Materials

DHS materials are available in multiple languages as electronic files you can view online or download and print. You can use these materials at home or for your business. Visit the DHS website to view what resources are available to you.

New translated materials:

The following materials are available in English, Chinese, Hindi, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish:


If you are feeling ill or if you may have been exposed to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, visit our testing page to learn the different ways you can get tested.

Media Briefings

COVID-19 media briefing from Thursday, March 18, with DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk, Dr. Stephanie Schauer, Wisconsin Immunization Program Director, and Traci DeSalvo, Bureau of Communicable Diseases Director.

Social Media

Follow DHS on social media for the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout.


Looking for previous newsletters? To view past versions of this newsletter, visit the DHS website.