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Minnesota vaccination sites will offer limited doses to adults 65 and up, school and child care workers

Jan 18, 2021 01:09PM ● By Editor
From KARE 11 News - January 18, 2021

As the Minnesota governor continues to call for more vaccine doses from the federal government, he is announcing a new pilot program for distribution across the state.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that the state government will partner with local public health and school districts to create several community vaccination sites.

Vaccination sites will serve adults 65 years old and up, and prekindergarten through 12th grade teachers, school staff and child care workers. Walz said in a news release Monday that the pilot program will be the foundation for "mass vaccination clinics" in Minnesota once the vaccine supply from the federal government increases.

The nine sites will launch this week with a "small number of doses for eligible Minnesotans."

People who are now eligible may also get a vaccine through their health care provider, but Walz emphasized that providers will reach out to their patients to let them know when they can make an appointment. Minnesotans are asked not to call their providers directly looking to get a vaccine.

Whether going to a health care provider or a community vaccine site, appointments will be required. School employees will work directly with their districts or schools to get an appointment, and child care programs will be randomly selected. School vaccine allotments will be based on workforce proportion in their region, according to Walz's office.

Walz said while this announcement does expand the priority populations eligible for a vaccine right now, more details on Phase 1b are "dependent on decisions to be made by the federal government" and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Health care workers, long-term care staff and residents can still get vaccines through their workplaces, care facilities or local public health agencies.

Minnesota still has a "very limited" supply of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Walz administration. The governor said on Friday that the federal government has "botched" the rollout. He signed a letter with other governors last week urging the federal government to buy as many doses as possible.

According to the MN Dept. of Health website, "Starting Tuesday, January 19, at 12 p.m.: Appointments will be available at all nine pilot sites, located in the following cities: Anoka, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Marshall, Mountain Iron, North Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud, and Thief River Falls. Appointments will be available online or by phone at 612-426-7230 or toll free at 833-431-2053. Please be patient and remember that until the federal government provides more vaccine, there will not be enough doses for all who want one. More opportunities for vaccination will be coming as we get more vaccine."

To wreathe original post and see related reports, follow this link to the KARE 11 News website.