Patient, hospital officials offer reaction to vaccine becoming available to people 65+

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 6:43 PM CST
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MARATHON COUNTY, Wis. (WSAW) - Right now, older adults in Wisconsin are beginning to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

An estimated 700,000 people 65 and over are eligible to protect themselves against the virus, though the Department of Health Services says it could take months for everyone in that group to be vaccinated.

“This is the most important thing that I consider myself or my colleagues to be involved with in our lifetimes,” said Chad Craig, vice president of medical affairs for Marshfield Clinic.

Newschannel 7 talked to a woman who received her vaccine at Marshfield Medical Center in Weston Monday.

“Well I was not very excited about doing it, but I knew I had to do it. I mean I’m glad I had the shot. Now I don’t have to worry about it,” said Betty Gattiker, who came to her appointment with her daughter.

She believes getting the shot is important for others to do too. Craig explained how it can protect against COVID-19.

“The vaccine has a significant impact on inquiring the infection, but if you do acquire the infection, how sick you become. So it’s something that we really want to support and I think it’s an instrumental in, you know, coming out of this crisis,” Craig said.

Marshfield Clinic and Aspirus tell Newschannel 7 they’re limited by supply they get from the state. Marshfield Clinic is able to do 150 vaccinations a day. Aspirus didn’t give an exact number, but they say their goal will be 11,000 vaccinations a week when there’s supply. They anticipate being able to accommodate that number of people within a few weeks.

If you’re 65 and older, the best way to get your vaccine is to go online to your health system’s website and follow directions there.

Aspirus and Marshfield Clinic say they’ll call you back when an appointment is available. But both health systems say they’re limited by the number of vaccines the state is giving them.

“We are getting the vaccine out as quickly as we can. The state only gets a certain supply,” Craig said.

“We have the staffing and facilities to be able to utilize, so once we know what our supply is, we can successfully fill those schedules. The one thing we want to prevent is scheduling somebody and then having to reschedule or cancel based on, we didn’t get enough vaccines,” said Matt Brewer, vice president and chief nursing officer at Aspirus.

If you don’t get a call back right away, don’t worry, says Brewer.

“You’ll go into a registry that we’re able to manage and sort through, so that we ensure we get to everybody. If you don’t get a call immediately, please be patient. We are trying to get to you as soon as possible, we haven’t forgotten about you,” he said.

Brewer says once you submit the form on their website, your name is placed in a queue and they’ll call patients when they have a dose available. The call may come from an “unknown” or “private” caller ID.

Marshfield Clinic estimates it could take a few weeks to make an appointment.

Brewer wants to remind the public that healthcare systems remain open for regular check-ups and procedures, emphasizing that it is safe and important to come in and address routine medical needs.

Click here to visit Aspirus’ website.

Click here to visit Marshfield Clinic’s website.

If you don’t have access to the internet, you can give your information and get on the list by calling 1-844-568-0701 for Aspirus and 877-998-0880 for Marshfield Clinic.

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