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Boreal Community Media


Jan 29, 2021 09:15AM ● By Editor
By Cook County Public Health Educator Maggie Farchmin, January 29, 2021

The last year has been challenging in many ways; however, we are beginning to see a little “light at the end of tunnel” with the availability of safe, effective vaccines against COVID-19.

At this point, the number of vaccine doses available to our country, state, and county is still very limited. There simply are not enough vaccine doses currently available to meet the demand.  We urge people to be patient: public health staff and our partners in healthcare are working hard to get people vaccinated as fast as possible and as soon as we receive vaccine from the state.  We will be sharing updates with the community about how people can be vaccinated as soon as we have that information.  This information is posted at the Cook County COVID-19 hub site at

Thus far, the vaccine distribution process has occurred as follows: the federal government allocates vaccine to the states, including Minnesota.  The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) then allocates vaccines to counties, state-run vaccine clinics, and other health entities in the state.  As part of this allocation, we have been receiving a very limited number of vaccines from the state.  So far, this amount of vaccine has been small, in variable amounts, and usually arrives with very little notice.  To date, most of our event-specific planning has been “just in time.”  As we learn that we have vaccine coming, we quickly work together with our local healthcare partners to plan an event to vaccinate as many people as possible in just a few days.  We are all working hard to get the vaccine to people as soon as possible after it arrives in the county and are following guidelines set by MDH.

Cook County Public Health, North Shore Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic have been working to vaccinate people in priority group 1a, a group that includes employees who work in a variety of healthcare settings, including first responders and people who live in long term care facilities and their essential caregivers.  We have also been working with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic to vaccinate school and childcare staff.  People in these groups have generally been contacted by their employer, facility or other organization when it has been their turn to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination. If you believe you are in the 1a priority group but have not been contacted, please email [email protected].

We are excited about the opportunity to work with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic to offer vaccination to people age 75 and older at events at the Cook County Community Center beginning the week of January 25. People who are 75 years and older should look to the Cook County COVID-19 hub site at for details on when vaccine events will be held and for information on how to register.  We will continue to publicize vaccine events by issuing media releases to local media outlets, including the Cook County News Herald, Boreal and WTIP. The primary way to register for a vaccine is to complete an online registration once you are notified that you are eligible for vaccine. You may also ask a family member or other trusted helper or care provider (friend or service provider) to assist with registration.  An email address is required to complete the online registration. Assistance is also available for those who do not have internet access or need help with completing the registration process. If you need assistance registering for a vaccine event, please contact us at (218) 387-3668 or [email protected].

Many people are wondering, “How can I make sure that I am vaccinated as soon as possible?”  There are a few important things to know:

1.      There is no list that people can be added to at this time.  Please do not call or email asking to be placed on a “waiting list.”  The people answering phone calls and emails are the same people who are working to plan and staff the vaccine events, and we want to be able to use our limited staff time to ensure people are vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

2.      To find the most up to date information on vaccine distribution, please visit the Cook County COVID-19 hub site at  We will post information on the group of people currently eligible to register for a vaccine, as well as how people in that group can sign up to be vaccinated.  If you are not in the current eligible group, please do not call or email asking to be vaccinated early.  Again, we want to be able to use our limited staff time to work to vaccinate people quickly.   

We want to thank our partners in vaccination: North Shore Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.  This collaboration has been essential to the effort to vaccinate as many people in our community as quickly as possible.  We are grateful to be in a community where this kind of collaboration can occur.  We also want to remind everyone that Grand Portage Health Services has been administering vaccine as well.  Together, we are all working toward the health and safety of our community!

We want to thank you for your efforts in following public health guidance.  Even though we are starting to vaccinate people in our community, we still need everyone to keep up the effort to “stop swapping air” with other people: avoid sharing enclosed/indoor spaces with people from outside your household, stay six feet or more from people outside your household, get together outdoors or virtually, work remotely if possible, and reduce the amount of time you spend indoors in public places.  Please stay home if you feel sick and get tested as soon as possible if you have symptoms.  By keeping the spread of the virus to a minimum, we can save lives, prevent the overwhelm of our healthcare facilities, and ensure that the vaccine can benefit our community to the greatest extent. 

Contact information for vaccine questions:

[email protected]

(218) 387-3668

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service

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