WI progresses on vaccine distribution

Andrew Hansen, Staff Writer

State health officials said they expect to move into the second half of Phase 1B next week, meaning that educators will be the next group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Director of Risk and Safety Kim Langolf says that Phase 1B will also include some students.

“So we’re in Phase 1A right now and phase 1B starts on March 1st, which is really for educators and other essential employees,” Langolf said. “So if you’re a student and meet any of the listed criteria, you would be eligible. But for a typical student that doesn’t fall into one of those categories, they would not be eligible yet.”

Vaccines are currently being distributed for the community at the Culver Family Welcome Center through a partnership with Aurora and Winnebago County Health Department.

Langolf said that while a vaccine for the general population won’t be available until later this year, UW Oshkosh health officials are actively preparing.

“Once the vaccine is for the general population, where a majority of our students will be eligible there’s going to be two ways you can get the vaccine,” Langolf said. “One will be through the community vaccination site, and the other way is that the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has applied to be a vaccinator itself and we will get an allocation of vaccines at some point.”

Given that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to work effectively, UWO would need over 20,000 doses to fully vaccinate the entire campus population.

“We do request an amount, and that request has to be made on what we will use the following week,” Langolf said. “I would love to get eighteen hundred a week in the beginning.”

Due to the high demand of the vaccine, many vaccine requests have not been able to be matched by the state.

“99% of people have been getting a much lower allocation than they requested,” Langolf said. “So we may only get 50 vaccines, for example, because of the supply and demand.”

According to a federally-backed policy change announced by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services in October 2020, the vaccine will be free to all who receive it, regardless of their health insurance plan.