Home covid Efforts ramp up to vaccinate teachers, people of color

Efforts ramp up to vaccinate teachers, people of color


On the same day that SSM Health announced it would vaccinate 1,200 Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) staff, Public Health of Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) also announced they’d start administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to teachers and school staff next week.

In a press release Thursday, MMSD said it would administer 1,200 vaccines in a mass clinic next week Friday at La Follette High School, with another clinic to administer the second doses on April 9.

The first priority will be given to MSCR Cares child care staff, who have been working in-person throughout the entire pandemic. An MMSD spokesman said the district has not yet determined who else would be given priority among those 1,200 to be vaccinated, but would make decisions in the coming days.

“We are excited about our partnership with SSM Health, and very grateful for their support of our school community,” MMSD Superintendent Dr. Calton D. Jenkins said in a statement. “We have been working hard to advocate for our staff to be prioritized for vaccination, and this is an important step forward to making vaccines available to all staff.”

The announcement comes after SSM announced last week that it would vaccinate teachers in Waunakee and Sun Prairie.

Meanwhile, PHMDC announced that it expected to receive at least 7,900 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which it would begin administering to teachers at Alliant Energy Center next week. PHMDC had initially planned to begin vaccinating teachers this week, but lack of supply of the two-dose vaccines forced a postponement of at least two weeks.

“We are thrilled that we will be able to vaccinate school and childcare staff sooner,” Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in a statement. “The authorization of a third vaccine and it’s quick availability to us means we were able to move up our timetable. This supply increase also means that other eligible groups will be able to get vaccine sooner.”

Also today, UW Health detailed the results of its effort to prioritize people of color in its vaccination program. In a press release, UW Health said it had “prioritized invitations to those at higher risk, including Black, Latinx and Native American patients ages 65 and older. These decisions were designed to promote vaccine equity and were based on the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee research-based guidance … COVID-19 has undisputedly and disproportionately impacted communities of color. Health experts are seeing much higher rates of hospitalization and death among Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities.”

As a result, 50 percent of UW Health’s Native American patients 65 or older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the press release said. Additionally, 44 percent of Latinx, 39 percent of Black, and 35 percent of white patients older than 65.

In addition to the prioritization of scheduling invitations, UW Health said it is hiring vaccine patient educators who will work over the next year within the Black, Latinx and Hmong communities to proactively contact UW Health primary care patients, providing information and support to navigate access to the vaccine as more people become eligible.