Some Wisconsin communities to start state vaccine registration next week

NOW: Some Wisconsin communities to start state vaccine registration next week

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Next week, grocery store workers in communities like Wauwatosa are expected to have access to a new Wisconsin Department of Health Services online registration system to sign up for vaccine appointments.

“This portal, whether it is just putting us in a waiting line, at least we’ve now gotten our name some place,” Outpost Natural Foods Assistant Store Manager Geri Berg said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Thursday, Feb. 18 that starting March 1, Wisconsinites will be able to coordinate a vaccination through a state website.

Ten communities will operate the Wisconsin "pilot program." In the Milwaukee metro area, that includes Wauwatosa, Central Racine County, and Waukesha County.

The Greenfield Health Department says this levels the playing field between different communities.

“Many health departments across the state do not have the infrastructure for technology to do a lot of the registration coordination work that needs to be," Greenfield Public Health Officer Darren Rausch said.

DHS says the state is on track to reach their goal of vaccinating half of the 65 and older population by March 1 and move on to phase 1B, which includes grocery store workers, teachers and public transit workers.

“Today was the first day in the daily reported data that I looked at, where second doses were higher than first doses,” Wisconsin DHS Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said.

Industry leaders like the Wisconsin Grocers Association are still preaching patience.

“We know what the process is, which is a good thing," Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz said. "There’s certainty there. We know that we have to be patient because you don’t snap your fingers and have a dose show up.”

Not all communities have committed to the state website.

The Waukesha County Health Department will be testing the system next week, but said they might ultimately decide to use the system they already have in place.

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