WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — A major milestone: Wisconsin residents 16 years of age and older are now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr. Ashok Rai, CEO and President of Prevea Health, says this week they are offering 12,000 slots for vaccinations across the state.
This number is larger than in recent week and something they hope they can expand.
“If you go back three four to five weeks ago, we were allocating 5,000 doses across the state to all the Prevea sites. And now, we are allocating 12,000 doses and it will keep changing, week to week,” Dr. Rai said. “There are some weeks like the last week where the state got a good amount of vaccines and they were able to be allocated. Hopefully that number will keep going up, but it’s not a guarantee.”
As more people are rolling up their sleeves to receive the shot, Dr. Rai said they’re ready to meet the demand.
“We set these sites up to have that capacity to do so. In the past, we’ve had to shrink them down for not getting that. So, now we’ve expanded it to really work it how they were designed and hopefully that will be enough for the community, and if not, we can expand,” Dr. Rai said.
For those minors 16 and 17 years of age, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for them.
One De Pere teenager is part of this new wave.
"I actually want to get it because then I will feel more protected from the virus because I actually have asthma so I will feel more protected," said Preston Zenz.
That being said, Dr. Rai said they’re working to make more appointments available during after-school hours so that students don't have to miss class to get vaccinated.
“We are trying to make them a little more convenient for 16 and 17-year-olds. More that Friday or Saturday. We don’t want anyone to miss school. We are working with schedules, working with parents, trying to do the best we can,” Dr. Rai said.
He remind minors that they are not able to book appointments online.
16 and 17-year-olds have to call over the phone and a parent has to give consent. A parent or guardian is also required to be with the minor for at least the first dose.
Bellin Health also says they’re thrilled to hit this new milestone of eligibility.
“We are really excited because this has opened it up and has made it really simple for us from an operational vaccine. Anyone that wants a vaccine can come in and get a vaccine via appointment scheduling. We are very excited and very happy to have it open to everyone. Get everyone through and get their vaccinations completed,” said Sherry LaFond, Bellin Health Primary Care Team Leader and Lambeau Vaccine Site coordinator.