Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccination registry set to launch

NOW: Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccination registry set to launch

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A statewide registry meant to help residents find and register for appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is set to only partially launch on its announced start date of March 1.

The Department of Health Services sent this statement to CBS 58 regarding the launch of the registry:

"The registry will be live by the end of the day today. The site will initially target our citizens within the vicinity of our state community based vaccination centers. A number of counties are either about to start using or are in the process of beginning to use the system. These counties will first work through waitlists and we wanted to give them time to do that before broadly advertising it. As our local and tribal partners complete their early use and adopt the registry fully, they will be listed on the DHS website and registry landing page."

Some public health departments, including Wauwatosa, Waukesha County and Racine Central County, were selected to test the registry system. They worked with DHS and Microsoft to run tests and send feedback.

“The partnership has gone really well,” Laura Stephens, the interim health director for the Wauwatosa Health Department, said in an interview. “DHS and Microsoft has taken all the feedback from the local health departments in the test system and put it in the system. So everything we provided, all the information that we need has been updated in the system and is ready to go.”

Even though the registry is not live for the Wauwatosa community and others, Stephens said the department is using the system internally to schedule vaccinations for people in the community already on waitlists.

“We’re using those waiting lists in the live system to schedule appointments,” Stephens said. “So even though the system is not available to the public, we’ll be using that system to schedule appointments with our current waitlists. We want to make sure everything’s working on our end before we open it up to the public in a few weeks.”

Microsoft sent a statement to CBS 58 saying:

“We remain focused on helping governments manage their COVID-19 vaccination programs as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible.”

Leaders at UW Health in Madison said even as the state continues to build more infrastructure for vaccine access, supply remains an issue.

“March is going to be our best month yet in terms of volume of vaccinations and getting more people eligible and vaccinated, so I feel really positive about that,” Dr. Matt Anderson, UW Health’s senior medical director said. “But there continues to be the supply challenge which is the frustration for many of our patients. We have 65+ individuals who have wanted to be vaccinated for the past four, five weeks and haven’t able to be.”

Anderson says things like the state registry and others help, but there remain concerns over equitable access for vulnerable populations as the state continues a decentralized model of vaccine distribution.

“Even in the middle of this sort of more decentralized distributed model that really requires more action on the part of the patient, how do we do that to make sure to not exacerbate any underlying inequities or disparities that existed at baseline,” Anderson said.

The DHS vaccine registry page can be found here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-registry.htm.

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