New vaccine site to open in Duluth; vaccine finder launched | www.WDIO.com

New vaccine site to open in Duluth; vaccine finder launched

Amy Hultman was the first educator to get a vaccine in Mt. Iron. Amy Hultman was the first educator to get a vaccine in Mt. Iron. |  Photo: WDIO File

WDIO
Updated: February 01, 2021 07:56 PM
Created: February 01, 2021 10:00 AM

Gov. Tim Walz has announced plans to open new permanent COVID-19 vaccination sites in Duluth and Minneapolis this week and is also encouraging Minnesotans age 65 and older check whether the vaccine is available through medical providers.

The Duluth site will serve Minnesotans age 65 and over who are picked to receive a vaccine through the state's COVID-19 vaccine program. The exact location of the new Duluth site, and when this week it will be opening has not yet been publicly announced.

This is part of an effort to distribute 35,000 doses of vaccine across the state to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers to be given to Minnesota seniors. 

Approximately 6,000 of the 35,000 doses will be given to the Minneapolis and Duluth community vaccination sites. Roughly 1,500 will initially be administered at the Duluth location.

A news release from the governor's office said the new sites in Duluth and Minneapolis, and one to open in southern Minnesota next week, will build on the lessons learned during the program's first two weeks and expand access to the vaccine on a more sustainable basis.  

"We need to jumpstart our vaccination efforts, and our vaccine pilot program taught us important lessons about how we do that," Walz said in the news release. "These new, more permanent community vaccine sites are an important part of our strategy to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In Minnesota, we’re building a network of choices for people to get their vaccine. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans will get their shot this week and we will be ready to roll out even more vaccine to people who need it – as soon as the federal government provides us with more doses."

Demand for the program far exceeds supply. More than 220,000 Minnesotans registered for the program last week but only a tiny fraction were able to receive vaccines. Those who were not chosen to receive the vaccine during the randomized selection process remain on the registry.

There won't be any availability this week to get on the wait list, but officials will use the wait list already established to randomly choose the people who are eligible to get their vaccines.

A community vaccination site was also previously established in Mountain Iron. It will be open for two weeks starting February, 11 for second doses of vaccine only to those who have scheduled appointments. No new appointments will be scheduled. 

Besides the state program, Minnesotans age 65 and over may also be able to receive vaccinations through their medical providers. The state has launched a vaccine finder at mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine to display the more than 100 clinics, hospitals, and community vaccination sites around Minnesota.

The governor's office said more than 35,000 Minnesotans age 65+ will be able to receive the vaccine this week.

"We still need more supply, but we have to work quickly with what we do have and be ready when the federal government ramps up to meet the demand," Walz said in the news release.

Education and child care staff will also have the opportunity to receive the vaccine this week at the vaccination site in Minneapolis and dozens of clinics around the state. They are being contacted directly to set up appointments.

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