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Wisconsin vaccine eligibility expands, finding appointments gets harder

Story By Rachael Eyler
Local News Published 04/05/2021 5:41PM
Rhinelander - Almost 25 percent of Oneida County residents are fully vaccinated, 39.5 percent have received at least one dose. But with the new eligible group including so many Wisconsinites, health departments and clinics say vaccinating everyone will still take months.
As of Monday, people 16 and older can now get a shot in the arm. The Department of Health services says the expanding eligibility comes as vaccine supply from the federal government is expected to increase.

Director of the Oneida County Health Department Linda Conlon agrees saying as nearly 65 percent people over age 65 have already completed their series of shots it opens up opportunities for others to get vaccinated, as well.

"What we feel locally is at this point in time we have some really good vaccine allocation and although we may not be able to meet the demand immediately we definitely are going to be able to meet that demand in the near future," Conlon said.

And while some spots, like Marathon County, have been lagging behind with their vaccination rate that could change soon.

Aspirus Wausau tells Newswatch 12 an additional clinic opening tomorrow at NorthCentral Technical College will allow for more efficient distribution.

"Marathon County in general is doing well but we are a little behind other portions of the state so I think this will actually give us a nice boost in our vaccine rates," Dr. Susan Schneider, Aspirus System Senior Physician of Primary Care said.

With this new eligible group comes with an extra condition. For those who are 16 or 17 years old, they can only receive the Pfizer vaccine and that specific supply can be hard to find

"There is a limited availability of Pfizer," Conlon explained. "We do have pharmacies and health care providers that do get Pfizer vaccines but you do need to be persistent so that your 16 or 17 year old can get that vaccine wherever it's available in the community."

If you are in search of a vaccine appointment, Oneida County announced they still have availability for their upcoming Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic this Thursday.

You can schedule your appointment through their online booking site www.bookochd.time.tap.com 
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