MN seniors will get 24 hours each week to pre-register for COVID vaccine lottery – Twin Cities | #television | #elderly | #movies
Minnesota seniors will have more time to register for the state’s coronavirus vaccination pilot program as the state switches to a lottery system for appointments.
The state also will open a vaccination clinic in St. Paul for school staff and child care workers and push to get the vaccines into the arms of residents sooner, according to plans announced Monday.
Minnesotans 65 and older will now have a 24-hour window to register for the state’s pilot program that is vaccinating about 6,000 seniors each week around the state. Appointments will then be set under a random lottery rather than the previous first-come, first-serve approach.
Last week, the state’s website for appointments was overwhelmed with traffic and the call center deluged with seniors wanting shots.
“This is about having the infrastructure in place to be ready when the federal government finally begins to send us more vaccine,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement announcing the changes. “Every shot in the arm is another step toward crushing COVID and ending this pandemic.”
Pre-registration will run from 5 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, until 5 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, with phone lines opening at 9 a.m. Tuesday. More information can be found at mn.gov/findmyvaccine or by calling 1-833-431-2053.
Anyone on the waiting list from last week will automatically be added to this week’s pre-registration list. Residents can only sign up once and duplicate entries will be deleted, state officials said.
People randomly selected for the vaccine lottery will be notified by text message, email or phone to finalize their appointment. About 8,000 appointments are available this week thanks to a modest increase in doses announced Friday.
Anyone not selected in this week’s lottery will remain on the pre-registration list for coming weeks.
An appointment is needed to get vaccinated at the nine pilot community clinics around the state; no walk-ins will be accepted. Minnesotans with appointments should arrive no more than 15 minutes before their scheduled time.
The pilot program has a very limited number of doses and is designed to ensure the state is ready for a massive vaccination effort once more vaccine becomes available. Health officials say most people will eventually get vaccinated at their doctor’s office or local pharmacy.
“There’s not enough anywhere,” Walz said of the nation’s current vaccine supply.
Walz also announced Monday a new goal for providers to use 90 percent of their vaccine doses with in three days of receiving them and all doses within a week of arrival.
So far, the state has been promised 871,650 doses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 530,000 doses have been shipped to providers and 153,000 to pharmacies to inoculate long-term care residents and workers.
It can take a week or more between when the CDC allocates vaccine doses in the state and when they arrive at one of the 410 providers administering shots. State officials say that’s because of numerous logistical challenges including the need to keep the Pfizer vaccine extremely cold.
Minnesota has administered 335,477 vaccine doses with 266,985 residents getting at least one dose and 67,436 receiving both doses required for maximum effectiveness.
State health officials are also opening a vaccination site at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The clinic plans to vaccinate 15,000 educators, schools staff and child-care workers from the Twin Cities metro between Thursday, Jan. 28, through Monday, Feb. 1.
School and child-care leaders will work directly with employees to arrange appointments. Workers providing in-person services are prioritized.
Last week, Minnesota’s pilot community vaccine program administered about 13,300 doses at nine sites around the state. A clinic that operated in Andover has been moved to Blaine.
The pilot clinics this week are located in Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, Sartell, North Mankato, Rochester, Marshall and St. Paul.