More than 226K seniors enter vaccine lottery’s first week – Twin Cities | #television | #elderly | #movies
Nearly a quarter of Minnesota residents 65 or older signed up for a chance to get one of 9,425 doses of coronavirus vaccine available to seniors later this week.
A 24-hour pre-registration window that closed at 5 a.m. Wednesday yielded 226,244 sign-ups for the state’s community vaccination pilot program, state health officials said. The total includes 11,000 seniors who were put on a waitlist last week when the state attempted a first-come, first-served sign-up process that quickly overwhelmed the system.
Minnesota has about 919,000 residents age 65 or older, according to federal data.
Health officials said those who were selected for a spot in the pilot program would be contacted by 5 p.m. Wednesday to finalize their appointment. Seniors only have to register once for the lottery and a new round of appointments should be available each week.
State health officials said Tuesday that they expected a modest increase in Minnesota’s weekly vaccine allotment starting in February.
The pilot program is also vaccinating teachers and child care workers whose appointments are arranged through their employer. Last week, 13,300 seniors, teachers and child care providers were vaccinated under the program.
So far, Minnesota has administered 375,934 vaccine doses with 301,290 residents getting at least one dose and 73,304 getting both of the required shots.
State officials urged the more than 400 providers administering doses to do so as quickly as possible with a goal of using 90 percent of vaccine on hand within three days of receiving it. Roughly 76 percent of providers were meeting that goal Wednesday and 95 percent were using their vaccines within a week.
Vaccine supply is extremely limited, so health officials say they designed the pilot program to fine-tune how the state will distribute vaccine on a large scale once it is available. The state is close to finishing inoculations of its top priority group, which includes health workers as well as long-term care residents and caregivers.
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The pilot clinics this week are located in Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, Sartell, North Mankato, Rochester and Marshall. There also is a clinic for educators at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.
More information about the program and how to sign up is available at mn.gov/findmyvaccine.