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By Shereen Siewert

Wisconsin is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents age 16 and older beginning Monday, according to a Tweet from Gov. Tony Evers.

The message on Twitter was sent out Tuesday ahead of a planned news conference with the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services.

Wisconsin leads the nation in vaccine delivery, which has improved exponentially in recent weeks with dose availability. So far, the state has administered about 2.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with 1 million residents fully vaccinated, according to the DHS. As of Monday 24.8 percent of Marathon County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 14.0 percent of residents have completed the vaccine series.The single-dose figure is slightly below the state average of 29.7 percent.

Earlier on Tuesday, DHS officials announced seven new pharmacy partners in Wisconsin will start receiving vaccine this week as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. This includes select Costco, CVS, and Hy-Vee locations, as well as the following independent pharmacy networks: Good Neighbor and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Health Mart, Medicine Shoppe and Cardinal Health, and Topco. In addition, Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, which includes some Hometown Pharmacies, and Walmart will both receive additional vaccine doses allowing them to offer vaccinations at more locations.

“We are excited to expand this program in order to bring more vaccine to communities across the state,” DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake said. “Our vaccine team and partners are committed to making the vaccine as accessible to everyone as possible. We urge everyone currently eligible to visit the DHS website to learn about how to schedule an appointment.”

The vaccine is free to everyone regardless of insurance coverage.

Starting this week, 595 participating pharmacies in Wisconsin will be able to order almost 95,000 first doses directly from the federal government. This allocation is in addition to Wisconsin’s total allocation and will include Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

CVS will begin scheduling appointments today. Other newly participating pharmacies are currently scheduling appointments using their state allocation. To find a participating pharmacy near you and to schedule a vaccination appointment, visit DHS’ COVID-19 vaccine provider map or the Centers for Disease Control Vaccine Finder map, or call 1-844-684-1064.