Minnesota vaccination plans prep for expansion

The Health and Human Services Committee received an update from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on vaccine rollout and the new community pilot program that started this week.  Vaccinations in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are moving steadily, either through a federal pharmacy program or in partnership with local vaccinators. Health care providers and local public health organizations are leading the effort to immunize an expanded wave of health care workers, which will continue throughout the month of January.

In addition, the state has started an appointment-only pilot program to start vaccinating people who are 65 years old and older, or educators and childcare workers. With more vaccines in development and goals for increased immunizations from the new Biden Administration, the state is hopeful that our vaccination capacity will increase in the coming weeks. The goal of this project is to start opening vaccines up to more high-risk population groups and build a foundation that can be expanded to operate at larger scales once we receive more vaccine. Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans 65 years of age and older registered appointments for their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional appointments are reserved this week for almost 6,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff and childcare workers.

An extremely small number of appointments will be available each week at these pilot sites given our state’s current limited vaccine supplies. This can be frustrating for those eager to receive their vaccine, but this pilot is just the starting point for a more extensive network of community vaccinators as supply from the federal government ramps up.

Appointments for the pilot program will open each Tuesday at 12 p.m. For more information, visit https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/index.jsp