Vaccine supply expands to nearly 600 pharmacy locations in WI as eligibility extends to those 16 and older April 5
"It won't all happen at once, but I know I'm not alone in feeling the hope, excitement and relief that we all have," Evers said.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently announced seven new pharmacy partners in the state that will begin receiving vaccines this week as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
Nearly 600 locations can now order 95,000 first doses straight from the federal government.
According to DHS, this includes select Costco, CVS, and Hy-Vee locations. Independent pharmacy networks Good Neighbor and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Health Mart, Medicine Shoppe and Cardinal Health, and Topco are also included.
Officials say Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN), which includes some Hometown Pharmacies, and Walmart, will also receive additional vaccine doses. This will allow them to offer vaccinations at more locations.
Pick 'n Save says the program allowed them to increase vaccinations from a few hundred to nearly 6,000 a week.
"It's quite an improvement, and as production continues and more vaccines are produced, that number will continue to go up," said Jim Hyland, VP of communications at Roundy's.
Like many other retail pharmacies in the program, they require online registration.
"You can look at any of our pharmacy locations. We did a clinic today, we're going to do a clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays over at Summerfest."
UW Health recommends newly eligible vaccine hunters either go through the DHS website, through the federal retail program or through a health system.
"We're going to put out our appointments on a weekly basis," said Dr. Matt Anderson, primary care medical director at UW Health. "I think most health systems are in that same boat right now. So it really is a multi-pronged approach to understand where the vaccines are, how can you get one, but understanding that the demand is going to be substantially greater than the supply."
UW says they do not anticipate health systems prioritizing vaccines for groups eligible before the expansion on Monday, April 5.
“We are excited to expand this program in order to bring more vaccine to communities across the state,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake. “Our vaccine team and partners are committed to making the vaccine as accessible to everyone as possible. We urge everyone currently eligible to visit the DHS website to learn about how to schedule an appointment. And please remember that whether you are insured or not, the vaccine is free to everyone.”