By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming is focusing on health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities as it begins to administer vaccinations against the coronavirus.
With vaccine doses still limited, targeted vaccination efforts will continue over the coming weeks and months for Wyoming’s established priority groups based on availability, said Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state health officer.
“Right now, we remain focused on Phase 1A priorities throughout the state,” Harrist said.
Priority groups for Phase 1A in Wyoming include:
- Healthcare workers with regular potential for exposure to COVID-19 patients or infectious materials
- Residents and staff of long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and residential care facilities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities
A special, targeted effort involving pharmacy chains to help vaccinate residents of many Wyoming nursing homes and assisted living facilities is planned for early January.
Wyoming’s Phase 1B vaccination priorities are generally described as including people who are 70 years of age or older and frontline essential workers who must interact with the public and are unable to consistently physically distance from others.
A Phase 1C priority list is also expected before Wyoming moves toward Phase 2. Phase 1 overall provides specific vaccination targets in situations where vaccines are in limited supply and are being allocated for specific populations.
WDH used the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as recommendations from the WDH Medical Ethics Committee to identify and list priority groups.
Harrist said priority groups and vaccine ordering are handled at the state level, while vaccinations are coordinated at the county level by local health departments and their community partners.
“Details on exactly where a county is with their progress through the priority group listings and specific vaccine availability and distribution information will largely be more available locally than from the state,” she said.
Website postings, media announcements and information from employers and partner groups will be used to provide updates on local vaccine availability.
“I’m excited about recommending these vaccines and know many people are anxious to receive them, but this is a process with many steps and most of us will need to be patient until it’s our turn,” Harrist said. “For now and for some months to come, we all need to continue wearing masks, social distancing and staying home when we are ill as we take steps toward ending this pandemic and getting things back to normal.”
People receiving the vaccines will not be asked to pay any fees. The currently authorized vaccines require two doses for maximum protection.