Walz announces new vaccine pilot program

The Associated Press/WDIO-TV
Updated: January 19, 2021 05:32 PM
Created: January 18, 2021 02:14 PM

Some Minnesotans eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to sign up for appointments at one of the state’s nine community vaccination pilot clinics through a new website and call center launched today by the State of Minnesota.  Minnesotans 65 and older can schedule appointments for COVID-19 community vaccine clinics starting today at noon. Visit mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/ to schedule an appointment or call by phone 612-426-7230 or 833-431-2053.

Story from Monday, January 18

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says the state will open nine community sites this week to vaccinate adults over 65, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educators, school staff and child care workers.

The program announced Monday expands the rollout beyond the first high-priority group that includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff, who began receiving doses last month.

Walz cautioned during a news briefing that the demand outpaces the supply and asked Minnesotans without underlying conditions to let their neighbors get the vaccine first.

"This is going to be harder than going to Ticketmaster and getting Bruce Springsteen tickets because everybody's going to be right at 12 o'clock trying to get on," Walz said. 

He said the state is receiving about 60,000 doses per week. They plan to allocate 12,000 doses to the pilot sites. 

"I plead for your patience," Walz said.

The nine sites will be:

  • Anoka
  • Brooklyn Center
  • Fergus Falls
  • Marshall
  • Mountain Iron
  • North Mankato
  • Rochester
  • St. Cloud
  • Thief River Falls

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the state cannot yet announce the full strategy for phase 1b of the vaccination effort because they are still waiting for some clarity from the federal government.

Malcolm cautioned that not all eligible people will be able to get a vaccination in the near future. She estimated it will be "weeks or longer" until the amount of available vaccines increases.

"Keep in mind that the very limited supplies we have mean that certainly there will be more demand than available doses. And frankly, we expect that the limited appointments available this week are going to be filled incredibly quickly," Malcolm said. 

Malcolm said health care providers will reach out to eligible patients to let them know when they can make appointments to receive the vaccine. She asked people not to deluge their health care providers with calls inquiring about the vaccine.

People should not show up at vaccination sites without an appointment because there is no vaccine available for walk-in patients, Malcolm said.

The website to make appointments, mn.gov/vaccine, will launch at around noon Tuesday. There will also be a call-in option. The phone number will be listed online on Tuesday. 

Monday's announcement comes after the Democratic governor criticized the federal government for uncertainty over the supply of doses. On Friday, he accused the Trump administration of lying about having a vaccine reserve.

Health officials on Monday reported 980 new infections and 12 deaths, bringing the state’s totals to more than 447,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


The Associated Press/WDIO-TV

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