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Wisconsin To Announce Who's Included In COVID Vaccine Group 1C Next Week

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Lorraine Harvey, an in-home care worker, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Rudolfo Garcia at a clinic at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles on February 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

State health officials gave a little more insight Thursday on when people under 65 with pre-existing conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

READ: Wisconsin Greatly Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

Deputy Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems-Van Dijk said as of Thursday, nearly 60% of people age 65 and older in Wisconsin received one or more doses of the vaccine, as part of group 1A.

Districts across the state started to vaccinate teachers Monday, as part of group 1B.

The CDC has recommended people age 16-64 with preexisting medical conditions be part of phase IC.

Willems Van Dijk said the state will announce its decision on who will be included in 1C next week.

“I'll just take a moment to say, you know, it sounds like a fairly simple group, right people aged 16 to 64 with preexisting conditions,” she said. “But part of the decision making is thinking about which preexisting conditions and really using the CDC's research to look at where the strongest evidence is about which conditions contribute to COVID-19.”

Willems Van Dijk said there’s more research now than a year ago about which conditions are most impacted. But she said compared to other communicable diseases, understanding COVID-19 is still in its infancy.

“It’s complex to, to try and hit the notes just right to include people who we know are at risk, to think about do we put people who might be at risk? And how do we do this in a way that doesn't overwhelm the vaccinating system," she said.

Willems Van Dijk said based on statements from the federal government about increased supply, everyone who wants a vaccine will likely be eligible by May. She anticipates people would still need to be vaccinated through June and the beginning of July.

There is online vaccine registry, and Willems Van Dijk also announced a new vaccine assistance hotline on Thursday.

“So, if you need answers to questions about vaccine provider locations, need help with the registry, or just want to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine, you can call 844-684-1064," she explained.

Officials also noted there are 19 confirmed cases of the more contagious UK variant of the virus in Wisconsin, and are advising people to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.

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