COVID-19 Vaccine

We are committed to vaccinating our clients as quickly as possible based on supply and scheduling capacity. Due to the large number of eligible clients and the supply of available vaccine, we are vaccinating in phases. At this time, current eligible populations are frontline health care personnel, residents and staff in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, police and fire personnel, correctional staff, adults ages 65 and over. The Oneida County Health Department wants to give you the most up to date information on the COVID-19 vaccine in our community.

We will continue to post updates as more people become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is estimated that the vaccine will not be available to the general public until the summer of 2021 or later.


Current Vaccine Distribution Status

Recommendations for which groups receive the vaccine first come from federal and state governments.

We do not anticipate the COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available to the general public until summer 2021 or later. As production of vaccines increase to the point of being widely available, we will be sure to communicate widely and frequently.

Please note, if you are not a frontline healthcare worker classified as Phase 1a, there is no “waitlist” for the vaccine or any action needed from you at this time. If you are classified as Phase 1a medical worker, please see below.

Until a vaccine is distributed to the general public (and even for some time after), we must remain vigilant. Please wear your mask, limit indoor gatherings, practice social distancing, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and stay home when you’re sick.

*Phase 1a Information

Medical workers classified as Phase 1a are currently eligible for vaccine. This is defined as “Individuals who provide direct patient service (compensated and uncompensated) or engage in healthcare services that place them into contact with patients who are able to transmit SARS-CoV-2, and/or infectious material containing SARS-CoV-2 virus.” See a list of medical workers who are eligible in Phase 1a PDF .

If your Oneida County organization has Phase 1a medical workers:

  • Check with your organization’s healthcare system about vaccine availability
  • If you are not affiliated with a healthcare system that is able to vaccinate, Oneida County Health Department may be able to provide your workers with vaccine or match you with another vaccinator.

I’m 65 or older. What should I do?

  • Oneida County will begin vaccinating adults 65 and older, per state guidelines .
    • If you have a local healthcare provider, they should be reaching out to you, based on vaccine availability. You can also visit your provider’s website for more instructions.
  • Please note that there are 700,000 people in Wisconsin who fall into this age group but Wisconsin is only receiving about 70,000 first doses per week. Not everyone in this age group will be able to be vaccinated immediately.
  • Individuals will be matched with appointments as vaccine becomes available.

Next Eligible Groups

DHS anticipates the following groups will be eligible for the vaccine around March 1 (pending Wisconsin’s vaccine supply from the federal government):

Educators and Child Care

  • All staff in regulated child care, public and private school programs, out-of-school time programs, virtual learning support, and community learning center programs.
  • All staff in Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs.
  • All staff in preschool and Head Start through K-12 education settings.
  • Faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact.

Individuals Enrolled in Medicaid Long-Term Care Programs

Some Public Facing Essential Workers

  • 911 operators
  • Utility and communications infrastructure
    • Workers who cannot socially distance and are responsible for the fundamental processes and facilities that ensure electric, natural gas, steam, water, wastewater, internet, and telecommunications services are built, maintained, generated, distributed, and delivered to customers.
  • Public Transit
    • Drivers who have frequent close contact with members of the public, limited to:
      • public and commercial intercity bus transportation services
      • municipal public transit services
      • those employed by specialized transit services for seniors, disabled persons, and low-income persons
  • Food Supply Chain
    • Agricultural production workers, such as farm owners and other farm employees.
    • Critical workers who provide on-site support to multiple agricultural operations, such as livestock breeding and insemination providers, farm labor contractors, crop support providers, and livestock veterinarians.
    • Food production workers, such as dairy plant employees, fruit and vegetable processing plant employees, and animal slaughtering and processing employees.
    • Retail food workers, such as employees at grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations that also sell groceries.
    • Hunger relief personnel, including people involved in charitable food distribution, community food and housing providers, social services employees who are involved in food distribution, and emergency relief workers.

Non-Frontline Essential Health Care Personnel

SDMAC defines non-frontline essential health care personnel as personnel who are not involved in direct patient care but are essential for health system infrastructure. These staff are often affiliated with hospitals, but non-hospital employee non-frontline employees are also included.

Categories of non-frontline essential health care personnel job titles and settings include:

  • Public health
  • Emergency management
  • Cyber security
  • Health care critical supply chain functions, including the production, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccine
  • Support roles, such as cleaning, HVAC, and refrigeration, critical to health system function

Congregate Living Facility Staff and Residents

Staff and residents of congregate living facilities. Some settings in this group may be non-voluntary or provide services to marginalized populations – meaning residents do not have the resources or choice to mitigate exposure. According to SDMAC’s guidance, congregate living facility staff and residents include those living or working in:

  • Employer-based housing: Housing provided by an employer for three or more unrelated individuals that share bedrooms.
  • Housing serving the elderly or people with disabilities: Residents of housing that meets the definitions of an adult family home, independent living apartments, community-based residential facility, residential care complex, state center for the disabled, mental health institute, and county-based center for the disabled.
  • Shelters: Shelter provided to those who are homeless and/or in need of protection (for example, domestic violence shelters).
  • Transitional housing: A project that is designed to provide housing and appropriate supportive services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living when such facilities include shared bedrooms.
  • Incarcerated individuals: Individuals in jails, prisons, and mental health institutes.

Vaccine Groups

Despite COVID-19 vaccine becoming available, there will not be enough doses right away to vaccinate everyone. As a result, there will be a series of group recommendations for who should receive vaccine first.

Recommendations for which groups receive the vaccine first come from the federal and state level (Food & Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services). We will work with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and follow these priority groupings.

The first grouping will focus on frontline health care workers with the highest risk of exposure. It will also focus on people who work or live in long-term care facilities. It is unknown exactly how long giving vaccine to the first group will take.

The next phase will most likely include other essential workers and high-risk individuals, but the final definitions are still being determined.

Local healthcare and community partners are working on plans for giving the vaccine in equitable, ethical, and transparent ways.

Continue to take everyday precautions to prevent disease spread

It will likely be spring 2021 before a vaccine is available to the public. In the meantime, COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in our community. Everyone needs to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people you don’t live with
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash hands often
  • Stay home if you feel sick

More information about the vaccine

Other sources of credible vaccine information: