Wisconsin Gov. Evers OKs dentists to vaccinate as millions become eligible

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
This image taken from video by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on July 30 in Madison, Wis. Evers has signed a bill that allows dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services via AP 2020

Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill that allows dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday, the same day that more than 2 million more people became eligible for shots.

The Republican-authored bill allows dentists who complete eight hours of training on vaccine protocols and record keeping to administer shots. Dentists in neighboring Minnesota and Illinois are already permitted to give the vaccine.

About 3,500 dentists in Wisconsin could be enlisted to help vaccinate.

Evers' administration announced earlier this month that people age 16 and up with certain pre-existing conditions would be eligible on Monday, a week earlier than previously announced.

Qualifying conditions include moderate to severe asthma; cancer; diabetes; high blood pressure, Down syndrome; and being overweight with a body mass index of 25 or above. Women who are pregnant are also eligible.

State Department of Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake urged people to be patient as they try to book vaccination appointments, warning some vaccinators may have waiting lists.

The general public will become eligible on May 1, according to state health officials.

As of Sunday about a quarter of Wisconsin's population had received at least one dose of vaccine. Nearly 15 percent had received two doses, completing their vaccination cycle, according to state health officials.

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