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New process to check on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and schedule appointments at UHS – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Person administering vaccination to patient

At right, University Health Services (UHS) nurse Linda Johnson vaccinates Angela Schelvan, a veterinary technician at the School of Veterinary Medicine, with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 at the Nicholas Recreation Center on March 10, 2021. UHS is vaccinating as many eligible members of the UW–Madison community as weekly supply from the state allow, following Wisconsin Department of Health Services criteria. Photo: Jeff Miller

Note: The story has been updated to reflect the change in vaccine eligibility for individuals with high-risk medical conditions after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services moved up the date to March 22. DHS is making frequent changes and these will be reflected in the MyUHS portal as soon as possible, and as vaccine supply on campus permits.

Since Jan. 5, when University Health Services first began providing COVID-19 shots to the campus community, UHS has emailed employees and students to invite those who are eligible to schedule their vaccine appointments. As a result of broader population eligibility and increasing availability of vaccines, UHS has created a new process that does not rely on email.

Beginning Monday, March 15, students and employees will use their MyUHS account — found here: go.wisc.edu/myuhscovidvax — as a portal to access eligibility information and appointment options. Campus will also continue to share frequent news updates about vaccine eligibility.

This week, UHS is expanding appointments to all non-student employees working in person. These employees will have the option of scheduling an appointment for vaccination at UHS, which is offering the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or through a partnership this week with SSM Health in Dane County, which is offering the one-dose Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine at its clinic on Fish Hatchery Road in Madison.

Visitors to the MyUHS portal will log in using their NetID and password and their date of birth. To check availability and schedule an appointment, individuals should look for the following and click or tap on the word “appointment” to begin: “2. Schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 immunization.” A series of prompts will serve as a guide.

Vaccinator talking to patient

At left, University Health Services (UHS) nurse Stacy Kegel talks with Pazong Chang, a member of UW–Madison’s custodial staff at Facilities Planning and Management, after giving Chang the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Photo: Jeff Miller

Employees unable to secure an appointment at UHS this week should check back next week, or they should follow the instructions for appointments with SSM, which is offering vaccine hours on Wednesday, March 17; Friday, March 19; and Sunday, March 21.

There are more in-person employees than there are vaccine supplies provided to UHS this week, though UHS expects to continue to receive additional supply. Graduate and undergraduate student employees with in-person roles will begin to be offered appointments the week of March 22 and should access the MyUHS portal then.

Employees who are working remotely will be offered vaccine in the coming weeks. Eligible members of the campus community may also seek vaccine appointments through health care providers and other off-campus providers, such as pharmacies.

In-person instructors at UW–Madison, including graduate teaching assistants and student teachers serving K-12 roles, have already been offered vaccines through UHS or through a partnership with Public Health Madison and Dane County.

Each week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services allocates vaccine supplies to UW–Madison and UHS has prioritized vaccinating as many eligible members of campus as it can. Like other vaccinators in Wisconsin, UHS is vaccinating as many people as possible with its weekly supply but cannot provide shots to everyone right away.

To date, UHS has provided more than 10,000 COVID-19 shots to eligible members of the campus community. This includes both first and second doses.

Container of syringes

As eligibility expands and more vaccine supplies become available, UHS is able to offer vaccines to more members of the campus community. Photo: Jeff Miller

The state of Wisconsin determines who is eligible to receive vaccines. Following state criteria, UHS has offered appointments to employees and students who:

  • serve direct patient care roles;
  • have direct contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or virus samples;
  • are active members of campus age 65 and older;
  • are employees of University of Wisconsin Police Department;
  • are faculty, staff and teaching assistants currently engaged in in-person instruction;
  • are Housing and Dining staff ages 45 and older;
  • are childcare and custodial staff

UHS, the Office of Human Resources and others have worked with the Office of the Provost and schools and colleges to identify eligible members of campus.

Since March 1, all staff in education settings became eligible for vaccination according to DHS, including faculty and staff in higher education settings with direct student contact. Everyone at UW–Madison who works with students meets the definition of direct student contact.

However, while vaccine supplies remain limited, DHS asks that anyone working from home, and not required to interact with the public, allow other Wisconsinites with higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 access vaccines first.

Beginning March 22, DHS will expand eligibility to individuals with certain medical conditions that are associated with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. With vaccine supply in flux, DHS continues to make changes to eligibility and UHS will update the portal as needed to reflect these changes. Please continue to visit MyUHS to check your eligibility status and appointment availability.

UHS has primarily received the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, and community partners who have offered employees and students vaccines in recent weeks have been able to offer the one-shot Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine. UHS has also received limited supplies of Moderna in the past.

Each vaccine has been shown in clinical trials to be highly safe and highly effective at preventing vaccinated people from contracting COVID-19, from developing severe disease and from dying of the disease. The vaccines have now been provided to tens of millions of Americans since December 2020. Adverse reactions to the vaccines are rare. Some people report no side effects from the vaccines, though many report mild side effects, such as pain at the injection site and tiredness.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the deaths of more than 534,000 Americans since March 2020. The vaccines were produced in record time in order to save lives. They build upon technology that has been studied for decades and, before securing authorization by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, they underwent the same rigorous safety testing as all other vaccines authorized for use in the U.S.

Answers to common questions:

Is COVID-19 vaccination mandatory at UW–Madison?
No, COVID-19 vaccination is not currently required for UW–Madison students or employees, though employees are welcome to make vaccine appointments on work time. UHS will be providing modified clinic hours and additional support to second and third shift workers.

I signed in to make an appointment through MyUHS and couldn’t find an appointment – what should I do?

Keep checking MyUHS; UHS will continue to open appointments as vaccine becomes available. You will not lose your opportunity to be vaccinated if you do not schedule right away.

I was vaccinated off-campus. How do I let UHS know?

Individuals who are vaccinated off-campus who wish to ensure their vaccination is on file with UHS should take the following steps once they have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a one-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson):

It can take up to five business days for the record to be reflected in your MyUHS account.

What will I be able to do once I am fully vaccinated?

It takes two weeks after a one-dose vaccine, or two weeks after the second shot of a two-dose vaccine, to achieve full protection from current COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance on activities fully vaccinated people may resume: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html.

However, because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, the CDC does not recommend that people travel at this time. This includes people who are fully vaccinated. Anyone who must travel should review this guidance from the CDC, which will be updated again soon: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html.

Additionally, UW–Madison is examining whether fully vaccinated people will need to continue regular campus testing and expects to provide more information soon.

UHS hosted a recorded vaccine town hall on March 4. Closed captions are also available: go.wisc.edu/vaccinechat. A second town hall will take place on March 18, from noon until 1: go.wisc.edu/campusvaccinechat.

For answers to many more COVID-19 questions, including vaccine questions, visit: https://news.wisc.edu/tag/covid-questions/

For more information about UW–Madison’s response to COVID-19, including a searchable FAQ database, go to: https://covidresponse.wisc.edu/

For more information about vaccines, COVID-19, or to contact University Health Services, visit: https://covidresponse.wisc.edu/covid-19-vaccine-information/

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