In case you didn’t notice, Gov. Tony Evers is throwing open the doors to COVID-19 vaccine for almost every Wisconsin resident ages 16 and older starting Monday.
It’s about time.
In addition to a long list of qualifying health conditions—everything from cancer to high blood pressure—the criteria also qualify anybody with a body mass index of 25 or more. According to a calculator on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, these people have a qualifying body mass index:
Those 6 feet tall and weighing 184 pounds or more.
Those 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 174 or more.
Those 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 165 or more.
Those 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 155 or more.
Those 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 146 or more.
That will qualify a lot of people.
An informal survey of journalists in The Gazette newsroom, for example, shows almost all of us—even the skinny young ones—qualify under the body mass index criteria.
One of them wrote: “Somehow, I actually qualify, which is hilarious. 6-3 and 202 pounds is 3 pounds too many, apparently. Best shape of my life. Have run 197 miles so far this year.”
From another: “Absolutely, I qualify. I honestly don’t know of anybody who wouldn’t …”
Some who don’t qualify for BMI do qualify for a health condition or because of their age.
Even though they aren’t saying the state is making vaccine available to almost every Wisconsin adult, that’s what the governor and his advisers are doing.
We welcome it.
As we wrote in this space in January, Wisconsin’s handling of vaccine distribution was poor. Part of the blame belonged to the clunky phase requirements imposed at the federal level. But Wisconsin officials didn’t plan well how they would choose groups to be vaccinated and when, even though our leaders in Madison had months to come up with a scheme while the vaccines were in development.
That led to confusion and angst at the local level. Remember the controversy of Janesville teachers getting vaccinated even though they weren’t in Phase 1A?
Now, it doesn’t matter. Almost everybody qualifies.
The next challenge will be finding a place to get vaccinated, but there’s hope there, too. Several people in The Gazette newsroom have been able to schedule appointments, for example.
Mercyhealth is developing a system to register for vaccine appointments.
SSM Health Dean Medical Group-Janesville East has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available.
You can get onto a waiting list for vaccine being distributed at Blackhawk Technical College.
Walgreens and Hometown Pharmacy are taking appointments, too.
The governor promises everybody will be eligible for vaccination by May 1.
We’re pretty much there already.