MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – With eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine expanding vastly Monday in Wisconsin, UW Health is offering new ways to sign up for a vaccination appointment.
You can now schedule an appointment yourself, through an online portal, or you can sign up for a same-day vaccine at one of several clinics operated by UW Health.
The shift to self-scheduling means UW Health will no longer reach out to individuals to let them know they are eligible.
“As time has gone on the number of people that are eligible for vaccine is getting larger and larger and it becomes logistically very difficult to have a system that can then determine who’s next in the prioritization scheme,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, Chief Quality Officer with UW Health.
Through the online system, individuals can check to see if they are eligible and book a time and date that works for them.
“This approach that we’ve now adopted falls more in line with what’s going on in the state. Where it puts more responsibility onto the patient to find their vaccine,” explained Dr. Jeff Pothof
Same-day appointments are based on how many vaccines are left over at the end of a day, if any. Most of the doses administered by UW Health are done so on a schedule, but because of the short shelf-life a vaccine has once mixed in a syringe or taken out of cold storage, extras will be administered based on this list.
“That’s something that we want to offer. Both as a convenience,” told Dr. Pothof. “But also as a way to make sure that we are not wasting any doses of the vaccine.”
You do not need to be a UW Health patient to schedule an appointment, but you do need to be currently eligible.
On Monday, DHS expanded eligibility to include individuals with underlying health conditions. An estimated 2 million Wisconsinites will qualify as having at least one of the listed conditions, meaning more than half of Wisconsin’s population is now able to get a shot.
UW Health will not be vetting individuals on their medical history or employment status to verify that they are eligible for the shot.
“For this process it really requires an attestation. A patient to say yes I carry this condition and then there’s a little bit of scouts honor that goes into that to say that people are being truthful so that we can vaccinate them,” said Dr. Pothof.
UW Health officials note that appointment availability is all based on vaccine supply. Dr. Pothof explained that UW’s vaccine supply has increased over the last few weeks, “but it’s still nowhere near what it needs to be for us to actually max out our vaccination capacity.”
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