MADISON, Wis.— Just days from now, health officials are set to finalize who gets the next round of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccines. Grocery store workers are not on the list.
Some grocers want to change that.
On Saturday morning, Metcalfe’s Market in Madison was buzzing.
“25,000 customers go through here a day,” said owner Tim Metcalfe. He owns three markets in the city.
Metcalfe can’t wait for his staff to be vaccinated.
“The whole industry, everything since March, has really just been on fire,” he said. “We need to be here, so that the community can be fed and have food at the table.”
The department of health services’ state disaster medical advisory committee vaccine subcommittee decides who gets allotments of vaccines. It will be voting Wednesday, Jan. 20, on who will get the shot under Phase 1B.
Currently, that plan includes first responders, teachers, daycare providers, and mink farmers, but not grocery store staff.
“Maybe besides the medical industry and first responders... Maybe nursing homes… I think grocery store workers are more exposed than almost any other industry out there,” said Metcalfe.
He’s now written letters to the subcommittee, the DHS, and the governor, asking to put his staff higher up on the vaccination list.
“We need our food supply to be safe, and getting them vaccinated as soon as possible is important,” he said.
Metcalfe said over the last ten months, grocery store workers have been some of the most essential employees.
“They all got up every morning, and have been getting up every morning since March for almost over a year, putting their own personal health at risk, putting their family at risk,” he said. “We need to be here for the community.”
For the Phase 1B proposal, where you can weigh in, click here. You'll find the Phase 1B proposal under the "Documents Out for Public Comment" header. You can also send them an email before 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18. They’ll be using public comment in their decision-making process.