More than 35,000 Minnesotans age 65+ will have access to COVID-19 vaccines at over 100 clinics, hospitals, state community vaccination sites, and other locations across the state this week, Governor Tim Walz announced today. With an increased vaccine supply and after a successful two-week pilot to test the concept of community vaccination clinics, Governor Walz is now moving forward with his all-of-the-above approach to vaccine distribution that bolsters the proven network of local health care providers that will administer vaccines to most Minnesotans in the coming months, while also cementing the path forward for community vaccination sites.
The Walz-Flanagan administration also today launched an online vaccine finder to better connect Minnesotans age 65+ to vaccination opportunities in communities near where they live. The vaccine finder will allow all eligible Minnesotans the opportunity to seek out the vaccine from a local provider.
“We have long planned for most Minnesotans to get vaccinated in the places they are used to getting their health care – places like smaller clinics, local hospitals, and community pharmacies,” Governor Tim Walz said. “But not everyone has a doctor or pharmacy they’re familiar with. That’s why we’ve built up a reliable network of different ways Minnesotans will be able to access the vaccine. After careful planning, we’re now activating that network to give Minnesotans options close to home.”
“We still need more supply, but we have to work quickly with what we do have and be ready when the federal government ramps up to meet the demand. Today we’re expanding locations offering the vaccine and helping connect our seniors to shots where they live, so we can get to work crushing COVID-19 across Minnesota,” the Governor continued.
35,000 doses for 65+
This week, more Minnesotans aged 65+ than ever will be able to get their vaccine in Minnesota. In addition to the new, large-scale, permanent state community vaccination sites that will continue to vaccinate 65+ Minnesotans with the same number of doses as in previous weeks, the state is sending additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 100 hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers to administer vaccines to Minnesota seniors.
“Our seniors have seen the worst of COVID, and it’s absolutely vital we get them the shots they need to stay healthy and safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Today we’re putting vaccines directly in their communities and helping them find where they can get their shot. We need to ensure we’re protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness, and we’re directing healthcare providers to make that happen.”
The administration is releasing a new vaccine locator map today to connect Minnesotans to vaccination opportunities in their area. The map, found at https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/, now gives all seniors across the state the opportunity to find vaccine opportunities in their area. Minnesotans can use the map to find vaccine providers near them and contact those healthcare providers with questions. While the locator currently provides information for seniors, it will expand over time as more Minnesotans become eligible for the vaccine.
Following the successful two-week pilot to test community vaccination clinics around the state, Minnesota is now standing up two large-scale, permanent community vaccination sites in Minneapolis and Duluth. A third location in southern Minnesota will launch next week and potential additional locations may launch in the near future.
At this time, these sites will all serve Minnesotans 65+, and the Minneapolis location will also serve E-12 educators and staff, and childcare professionals.
The pilot program launched in early January was intended to test the concept of community vaccination clinics and to identify best practices for registering patients, administering shots, and distributing vaccine around the state.
These permanent sites will build on the lessons learned and expand access to the vaccine on a more sustainable basis.
“We need to jumpstart our vaccination efforts, and our vaccine pilot program taught us important lessons about how we do that,” said Governor Walz. “These new, more permanent community vaccine sites are an important part of our strategy to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In Minnesota, we’re building a network of choices for people to get their vaccine. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans will get their shot this week and we will be ready to roll out even more vaccine to people who need it – as soon as the federal government provides us with more doses.”
Last week, more than 220,000 Minnesotans age 65 and older registered for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine pilot program registry. Minnesotans who have not been selected for a vaccine from the registry will remain on this list and continue to have the opportunity to be selected to schedule an appointment at the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 community vaccination sites.
Minnesotans who received their first dose at one of the states ten vaccine pilot program locations will return to those sites for their second dose.
Local public health to administer vaccines to teachers
Education and child care staff will also have the opportunity to receive the vaccine this week at the State vaccination site in Minneapolis, as well as 35 county local public health clinics spread out throughout the entire state. Pharmacies in Brainerd, St. Cloud, and Rochester are also providing shots to education and childcare personnel.
Staff in education and child care settings will be contacted directly if selected to sign up for appointments vaccine at state site or community pharmacy this week. Local public health departments will partner directly with school and child care programs in their communities.