Tyler Johnson, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]
CHEYENNE, WYOMING (February 24, 2021) — As the campaign to help prevent COVID-19 illnesses and deaths by providing free, safe and effective vaccines keeps progressing, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is expanding who may pre-register to receive the shots.
People who are 65 years of age and older, those with medical conditions listed in Phase 1b and caregivers of people who have medical conditions noted in Phase 1b who are unable to be vaccinated can now pre-register to receive a vaccine.
Detailed descriptions of updated, current Phase 1 priority groups, can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.
The expansion includes people who have specific diagnosed illnesses or conditions that put them at greater risk of more serious COVID-19 disease.
“As the pandemic has continued we have seen that people with certain health challenges are clearly more likely to become severely ill when they are infected with COVID-19,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “These vaccines can help protect these individuals.”
Certain groups of frontline essential workers who interact with the public and are unable to consistently physically distance from others are also listed in Phase 1b. Vaccinations for these groups will mostly be arranged through employers, who should expect to be contacted by local public health agencies to schedule vaccinations for their workers.
“It’s very important for people to understand counties are moving through the priority groups at different paces based on the number of people in each group and uptake at the county level,” said Angie Van Houten, Community Health Section chief with WDH. “This means there are differences in progress and availability based on where you live.”
Specific registration processes also vary from county to county within Wyoming. Details and the right online pre-registration option for each county can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/county-covid-19-vaccine-information/.
Those unable to visit the website for details about priority groups or for county-specific information can call the WDH toll-free vaccine phone line at 800-438-5795.
At least 92,000 Wyoming residents have received at least their first doses so far when state and special federal counts are combined.
Van Houten noted shipments of Moderna doses delayed by national weather last week arrived on Monday. Moderna shipments expected for this week’s allocation may arrive later in the week than usual as distributors work to catch up.
The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which began last week, with several Walmart locations in Wyoming is expanding this week to include Walgreens in Casper, Riverton, Laramie, and Gillette and NorthStar Pharmacy in Cheyenne.
Important reminders about COVID-19 vaccines include:
- The currently authorized vaccines require two doses for maximum protection.
- The vaccines are free.
- Insurance is not required to receive a vaccine.
- Some people may be asked to show Medicare or insurance cards so professionals giving shots can get reimbursed.
- For most people it is best to receive vaccines in the county where they live.
Wyoming’s phased approach is needed because there aren’t enough vaccines currently for everyone who wants them. Priority groups are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the WDH medical ethics committee.
Harrist said it remains important to continue wearing masks, to keep social distancing and to stay home when ill unless seeking medical help while vaccination efforts continue.
More information about vaccination efforts in Wyoming can be found athttps://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.
More details about COVID-19 vaccines, including safety information, from the CDC can be found athttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.
More information about COVID-19 in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.