Wisconsin’s educators and child care workers will begin to get COVID-19 vaccines beginning on Monday, March 1, as part of Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination effort.

Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk is asking for their patience.

“We cannot get every one of you a vaccine on March 1st. But you are all going to get a vaccine in the next 4-to-6 weeks, and we want to protect you,” Willems Van Dijk said Thursday.

“This is all going to happen within the next four to six weeks. It’s a relatively short period of time in the whole history of COVID. Every teacher is going to get vaccinated, and so we’ll get to all of them very quickly.”

As of Thursday, 48 percent of all residents 65 and older have received a first vaccine dose, and Willems Van Dijk says those older residents will continue to be prioritized for vaccinations.

Willems Van Dijk said Wisconsin school districts will be ranked 1-through-425, as DHS allocates COVID-19 vaccines to give to K-12 educators.

“We’re going to use the percentage of students in free and reduced hot lunch, and the percentage of students who are students of color as criteria for that,” she explained, adding that does not mean urban districts are being prioritized.

“Many of the school districts in our rural areas have very high rates of children on free and reduced lunch, Many of the rural parts of our state experience poverty at disproportionate levels as well.”

People in congregate settings – including prisoners – are also in Phase 1B, but will be prioritized behind educators and frontline workers in transit and food service.

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