CASPER — Any Wyomingite age 16 or older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Mark Gordon’s office announced Wednesday.
The state, along with the rest of the nation, has been limiting who can get vaccinated while vaccines supplies have been limited. But now, the state is opening appointments to anyone of age who wants a shot.
More than 162,000 residents have received at least one vaccine dose thus far. The state expects to receive roughly 57,000 more vaccine doses through April, though estimates may change as national availability grows. If the estimates don’t change, the Wyoming Department of Health estimates it will have received nearly 230,000 inoculations by the end of April, not counting an estimated 40,000 provided to retail pharmacies through a federal vaccination program.
“I want to express my appreciation for the efforts of public health workers, health care providers and pharmacies throughout the state,” Gordon said in a release. “I would encourage every resident to take advantage of the vaccines, as (first lady) Jennie and I have, and help Wyoming move closer to ending this pandemic.”
Most counties had already begun offering vaccines to the general population. Natrona County announced Monday anyone 16 years or older who wanted a shot could get one. The county health department will begin offering shots at a mall storefront-turned-vaccine-clinic beginning Monday.
“This is a moment we’ve been waiting for since March of 2020,” department spokesperson Hailey Bloom said in a statement early this week announcing the change in eligibility. “This is how we’re going to get our town back. Our community’s vaccination efforts are well ahead of schedule, and it’s all thanks to our incredible team, healthcare partners and the people of Natrona County.”
Vaccines arrived in Wyoming in early December. The first shipments rolled into Cheyenne and Casper Dec. 14, with doses arriving in each of Wyoming’s remaining counties within two weeks. Those early days were marked by extremely limited supply, with select members of health care and front-line industries eligible for shots.
Eligibility has slowly expanded, moving through priority groups including residents with certain health conditions, those over 65 years old, and a litany of “critical” industries. Nearly four months after the first doses arrived, and the wait is over for anyone who wishes to have a shot.
Residents can schedule vaccine appointments through their local health department or other local community providers. Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies are also providing vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended age limits for the vaccines are 16 years old for the Pfizer vaccine and 18 for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.