COVID vaccination of those 65+ begins in Adams and Marquette Counties
Adults age 65 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine per recently updated state government guidelines. Local health officials ask for patience as they begin vaccinating eligible individuals. Vaccine supplies are very limited. The quantities received by public health departments and healthcare facilities will likely vary week to week.
"According to census estimates, there are approximately 6,106 adults in Adams County who are 65 and older," said Leah Eckstein, public health officer with Adams County Health and Human Services. "Vaccine supplies continue to be limited and strategically dispersed. It will take time to vaccinate everyone in this age group who would like to receive it."
Adams County Public Health, Marquette County Public Health and Gundersen Moundview Hospital and Clinics are beginning to vaccinate individuals age 65 and older. However, there will be differences in how they administer the vaccine, including the criteria they follow.
Adams County Public Health held their first vaccine clinic for those age 65 and older on Wed., January 27, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Town of Rome Fire Department. They offered the Pfizer vaccine with limited quantities available. Vaccines were administered on a first come, first served basis, regardless of health condition. They did not take appointments and they are not maintaining a waiting list. Those who attended were encouraged to bring a completed consent form to help expedite the process. The form was available online at co.adams.wi.us/covid-19. Additional clinics will be held in the future.
Marquette County Health Department's first community clinic was also held on Wednesday, January 27. Their clinic required registration and was full prior to the event. They will be holding additional community clinics in the future. Please watch for future clinic announcements and information on how to register for the clinics on Marquette County Health Department's Facebook page and the Marquette County Government webpage under "COVID-19 Information" (click on "Latest Vaccine Information").
Gundersen Moundview's ability to offer the vaccine will depend on the weekly supplies the hospital receives. Those eligible include patients age 75 and older, regardless of health and those age 65-74 who have health risks as defined by the CDC. These risks include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, obesity, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes and those with weakened immune systems from organ transplants or who smoke.
"Our vaccine supplies are very limited so we have established eligibility criteria for the age groups," said Brad Shaw, pharmacy manager at Gundersen Moundview. "We look forward to offering the vaccine to everyone over age 65 when we are able."
Gundersen Moundview is administering the Moderna vaccine. Hospital vaccinations are by appointment only. All appointment slots have already been filled for this week's weekday appointments and the larger vaccine clinics planned for Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31. The hospital is also working with public health on establishing an appropriate site for the hospital to host a future vaccine clinic in Marquette County.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. Individuals are asked to return to the same location (public health or Gundersen Moundview) for their second dose. They must receive the same type of vaccine as their first dose. Pfizer's second dose is given 21 days after the first. Moderna is given 28 days after.
The vaccines will be provided at no cost to individuals, no matter where they receive it. Gundersen Moundview will request an administration fee for giving the shot, but this fee is paid by the individual's insurance or by the federal government for those without insurance. The public health departments will not be asking for an administration fee.
Current Gundersen patients will learn when they are eligible for the vaccine through a message in MyChart or they will receive a letter. To help prepare for community vaccinations, Gundersen encourages current patients to establish a MyChart account now if they have not done so already.
Both public health departments and Gundersen Moundview plan to hold additional vaccination clinics in the community. Future clinics will be advertised in local media and on Facebook.com/adamscountypublichealth; Facebook.com/MarquetteCountyHealthDepartment and Facebook.com/gundersenmoundview as well as local websites. Individuals are encouraged to like the public health and hospital Facebook pages to get the most up-to-date information. COVID-19 information is also available at gundersenhealth.org/covid19 and dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm
It will take many months to vaccinate all Wisconsin residents. Please continue to protect yourself and those around you by staying at home as much as possible, wearing a mask in public, staying at least six feet from others, and washing your hands frequently.