JANESVILLE — Rock County is approaching 50% of COVID-19 vaccinations among people age 65 and older as the community-based vaccine clinic at Blackhawk Technical College wraps up its first week of providing shots to residents.
Rock County Epidemiologist Nick Zupan said 44% (12,416 residents) of those 65 and older in the county had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“That’s a great metric we’re seeing over the course of the last few weeks,” Zupan said during a media briefing with public health officials on Thursday.
A total of 22,779 Rock County residents (13.9%) have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 9,503 residents (5.8%) have completed the vaccination process, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
The vaccine clinic at BTC currently has supply to vaccinate 200 residents daily, with the ability to expand vaccinations up to 1,000 doses daily as supply increases.
DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said Thursday the overall state allotment of vaccine from the federal government has increased 64% since January, with Van Dijk noting those levels of increased supply will be available for at least the next three weeks.
The state surpassed 1 million vaccinations on Wednesday. As of Thursday, a total of 1,070,201 vaccine doses have been administered statewide, Van Dijk said.
“It took 48 days to administer the first 500,000 vaccines and only 18 days to administer the next 500,000 doses,” Van Dijk added.
Rock County will once again be at the forefront in the state’s vaccine response as the county is poised to test a vaccine registry program that will then roll out to the rest of the state in the coming weeks, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
In a call with reporters on Thursday, DHS officials announced that the state has partnered with Microsoft for a registry to allow residents to apply for vaccination. Rock County will be part of the pilot program with health departments in Racine, Menasha, Wauwatosa, Green County, Marathon County, Oneida County, Dane County, St. Croix and Waukesha.
The Rock County Health Department is working through a waiting list of eligible people who have signed up to be vaccinated, and further outreach is expected on Feb. 22—a tentative date for when the health department plans to launch its permanent online vaccine registration tool.
Currently, the health department makes direct contact with those on the waiting list who are eligible for the vaccine. Zupan said the county has received applications for those not yet eligible for inoculation, with the health department keeping that information on file for when expanded groups can be vaccinated.
Public Health Supervisor Kelsey Cordova said the health department will conduct “targeted outreach” in partnership with various Rock County community groups as vaccine eligibility expands.
“The current outreach is to get in touch with those who are eligible,” Cordova said when asked if the health department was planning ahead for expanded outreach.
More eligible groups could be able to be vaccinated starting March 1, including those in the education and child care fields, individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs, some public-facing essential workers, non-frontline health care essential personnel, and facility staff and residents in congregate living settings, DHS eligibility information shows.
The vaccine registry will require people to answer several questions to determine if they are in one of the groups eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and help them schedule an appointment. If they are not eligible, or if no appointments are currently available, they will be placed on a waiting list.
Those with a current health care provider who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted to arrange a vaccination.
If you do not have a regular doctor or are not insured, you can call to schedule a vaccination at 608-352-6727 or go online to co.rock.wi.us/publichealth. Once on the website click on COVID-19 information, click on vaccine information and request a form. Fill out the form for age 65 and over. You will be notified by email or by phone for an appointment.