Wisconsin expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Anyone+over+the+age+of+16+is+now+eligible+to+receive+the+COVID-19+vaccine

Anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Since the COVID-19 vaccine’s arrival, many people have been waiting for a vaccination of their own. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services changed its guidelines to allow even more people the chance to get vaccinated April 5. The new guidelines allow anyone 16 or older to get vaccinated. Anyone under 18 wishing to get vaccinated will still need parental consent. Currently, for those under 18, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccination approved.

MaryKate Hogan, a junior in the College of Nursing, currently works at the Wisconsin Center administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Hogan said that she’s had people from outside the Milwaukee area, from Madison or Dane County, come to the Wisconsin Center for their vaccination because there’s more availability for appointments.

Hogan said the way vaccinations are running in Milwaukee and Wisconsin “is honestly pretty impressive (because of) how smooth it is.”

“There is limited appointments (in Illinois), and once you get there, you’ll be waiting a long time. It’s just a different experience. In Milwaukee, it’s easier to get an appointment, and it’s a smoother process,” Hogan said.

Wisconsin currently has 39.7% of its population vaccinated with at least one dose as of Monday and 25.8% have been fully vaccinated. This includes 2.17 million people who have had at least one dose, and 1.42 million people who are fully vaccinated.

Maddi Carroll, a first-year in the College of Business Administration, recently got her vaccination at the Wisconsin Center.

“It was really quick, easy, and painless,” Carroll said.

Carroll explained the process for her shot involved registering online and then filling out paperwork when she arrived. She then was taken to a “curtained-off area” where the shot was administered. After the shot, she was taken to a waiting area to wait for fifteen minutes before she could leave.

Hogan explained that after the shot is given, patients are asked to wait 15 minutes, or 30 minutes if they have severe allergies, to make sure there are no adverse reactions.

In the event something was to happen, “there’s EMTS and nurses in the waiting room watching you,” Hogan said. Hogan said she hasn’t seen anyone have a reaction to the shot.

Carroll said she’s grateful that vaccines have become more available and believes more places should follow Milwaukee’s example.

College campuses have a lot of students, possibly leading to being a hub for COVID-19 cases. Allowing access to vaccines on campuses could be helpful.

Marquette will be offering vaccinations but only to students, staff and faculty. Marquette has been doing random COVID-19 testing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Liz Wiltgen, a sophomore in the College of Nursing, works as a sampler at Marquette’s surveillance site.

“Most people are pretty agreeable about testing, but generating one milliliter of Saliva can take a long time out of someone’s day and be really frustrating to students,” Wiltgen said.

Wiltgen said she did not know much information about Marquette’s vaccination process.

“Honestly (I’m) pretty confused by some of the emails about it,” Wiltgen said. “I think they could’ve communicated more clearly about who they were distributing vaccines to and how.”

Marquette will start vaccinations with Johnson and Johnson’s/Janssen one-dose vaccine April 14. Students and staff looking for more information about Marquette’s vaccinations can find them at the Marquette Medical Clinic Website.

“I think both Wisconsin and Milwaukee have done a great job with vaccine distribution,” Wiltgen said.

On the Wisconsin Department of Health Service’s website you can find a local location to get vaccinated. The Wisconsin Center near campus is currently offering appointments daily.

This story was written by Karsyn Hartsfield. She can be reached at karsyn.hartsfield@marquette.edu.