Milwaukee Health Department prepares to receive the vaccine

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The City of Milwaukee Health Department says it is anticipating getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming week. 

A spokesperson for the health department says some training is required for health department staff on handling and delivering the vaccine. There is also planning on the process, like location and timing. 

The first people to receive the vaccine from the health department will be people in groups 1a and 1b, according to the spokesperson. That will most likely be front line health care workers and emergency responders who work for the City of Milwaukee. 

The prioritization of vaccine recipients includes all public safety personnel, according to the health department. 

The department spokesperson said they were not sharing details of specifically who and when the vaccine will go to people in the 1a and 1b categories, but said the city is following state and national guidelines. 

The state's phase 1a includes healthcare workers exposed to or treating people with COVID-19 and people living in long-term care or assisted living facilities, that includes emergency medical responders, including EMTs and paramedics. 

Wisconsin's vaccine subcommittee is scheduled to meet this month to to finalize its phase 1b recommendations. 

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that frontline essential workers and people 75 and older be in phase 1b. 

The CDC panel has defined frontline essential workers as workers who fall into one of these categories: first responders (firefighters, police), education (teachers, support staff, daycare), food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections workers, U.S. Postal service workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers. 

Earlier this week, Mayor Tom Barrett said the health department had been in contact with the city's acting fire chief regarding the vaccine. 

The city's police union says officers should be a top priority to receive the vaccine.

"Our officers absolutely need to be vaccinated and need to be protected from this COVID-19," said Milwaukee Police Association President Dale Bormann, "Our officers come in contact with people with COVID everyday and there are plenty of people in the city of Milwaukee that have COVID, but our officers still have to respond and help out anybody who calls for the police."

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