Search for COVID-19 vaccine could lead some across state lines

NOW: Search for COVID-19 vaccine could lead some across state lines

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Sarah Westling manages a Hayat pharmacy in Milwaukee.

She says people have been coming from the Chicago area for months to get tested as quickly as possible.

“Lots of people cross the border because tests are a little bit harder to find in Illinois," Westling said. "I actually have several friends in Illinois who have reached out.”

Westling said one of the biggest reasons is when people need a test quickly for something like an international flight.

Pharmacist Dr. Dimmy Sokhal said the same situation could technically happen with vaccines.

Pharmacists do check proof of employment to make sure those requesting vaccines fit current state protocols, but they do not check addresses.

“We haven’t been asked to check if they’re a Wisconsin or a non-Wisconsin resident, as long as they’re a health care worker, that suffices,” Sokhal said.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said it’s already been happening with health care workers, and surrounding states have been allowing it.

“None of us are going to get into 'well you don’t live here, but you work here,'" Ezike said. "If you work in my office, we are swapping air together regardless of where you put your head down to sleep at night.”

You could have issues getting a vaccine in either state. More people are eligible for vaccines than they have available.

“Our state is definitely not meeting up with the demand, so the supply is below what the demand is,” Sokhal said.

IDPH said just because the state has no rule for Wisconsin residents, your provider might.

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