A Community of Immunity.
As of 11/26/21: Olmsted County remains at a High Level of Community Transmission. Cases continued to increase the past week. Olmsted County is at about the same level of cases as a year ago during the first peak of the pandemic. The public has access to the vaccine, including boosters and vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11.
As of November 23, 2021, Minnesota was ranked sixth in the nation for the percentage of 5- to 11-year-olds who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and second for booster dose administration. Locally, Olmsted County has 32 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds with one COVID-19 vaccine. Of the Olmsted County population, 32 percent of people eligible for a booster have received one.
On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified a new variant B.1.1.529 as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a case of Omicron confirmed in California.
The Minnesota Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory has found the Omicron COVID-19 variant in a specimen from a Minnesota resident in Hennepin County who recently traveled to New York City. MDH has not found any cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Olmsted County.
There are many opportunities to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available at no cost; however, some clinics and pharmacies may charge an administration fee.
COVID-19 Vaccine Availability
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved or authorized in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19. All currently approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness. CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another.
Compare the differences between the COVID-19 vaccines with Mayo Clinic.
Olmsted County COVID-19 vaccine locations
Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic locations in Minnesota have begun vaccinating children 5 to 11 for COVID-19. Parents and legal guardians can use their Patient Online Services caregiver account or the Mayo Clinic App to schedule an appointment. If they don’t have a caregiver account for the 5- to 11-year-old and would like to set one up, they can call Mayo Clinic Customer Assistance at 877-858-0398.
Children 13 and over can schedule an appointment through Patient Online Services. For 12-year-old children, a parent or guardian can schedule through their Patient Online Services caregiver account. Appointments can also be scheduled by calling 507-538-4040. If you or your child does not have a Patient Online Services Account, call Mayo Clinic Customer Assistance at 877-858-0398 to create one.
Olmsted Medical Center (OMC): OMC is scheduling COVID vaccine appointments for children ages 5 to 11. To schedule an appointment, call 507-292-7300.
All individuals ages 18 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster. Appointments are required. Call 507-292-7300 to schedule an appointment. OMC is offering the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine boosters for patients who completed their primary series with Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
OMC continues to offer appointments for first and second doses for the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments are available on Thursdays.
Community Health Services: Call the clinic for more information.
Rochester Clinic: Call the clinic for more information.
Olmsted County Public Health Services is not currently providing vaccines to children age 5-11. The department will first focus on completing primary and booster dose clinics that were scheduled before the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 before moving to this age group. If seeking vaccinations for eligible children, OCPHS encourages families to reach out to their primary care provider, check with their local pharmacy, or find a location on the MDH Vaccine Finder website.
Local pharmacies and the State of Minnesota: Individuals can now sign up with the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. The connector will help you find out when, where, and how to get your vaccine. Vax for Kids can help you find vaccine for children 5 to 11.
Vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds
November 22, 2021, Viv Williams from the Post Bulletin moderated a forum with OCPHS Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Amy Evans, Olmsted Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Peter Arndt, and Mayo Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson.
Olmsted County residents looking to vaccinate their child can:
- Visit mn.gov/vaxforkids to find clinic locations near you.
- Check with their pediatrician, family medicine clinic, or pharmacy about appointments.
- Watch for vaccination clinics being offered at schools or other community locations around Minnesota.
Before you go, make sure the vaccine location provides the Pfizer vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds. Not all Pfizer vaccine providers will have the vials specifically packaged for 5- to 11-year-old doses in their supply.
Importance of COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease and now more of our children have access to its protection. Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to protect them and the people around them. As we prepare to gather with family and loved ones for the holidays, getting children vaccinated is the best way to keep everyone healthy and safe. Now is the time for every family member 5 and older to get vaccinated.
Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Under 12
The Pfizer vaccine has been carefully studied in children age 5 to 11, just like all vaccines were for people 12 and older. This process is called a clinical trial and all authorized vaccines have gone through it. Only vaccines shown to be safe and effective are authorized to be used.
The Pfizer vaccine was determined to be 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease in children 5 to 11.
Visit mn.gov/vaxforkids, the state’s web page for parents on COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and where to get your child vaccinated.
Olmsted County providers offering the COVID-19 vaccine can now administer boosters to all adults. Providers will check a patient’s immunization history prior to vaccination to ensure that the interval is timed appropriately.
Visit mn.gov/vaccine to find a provider near you. Contact the provider directly to make sure they are offering boosters and to make an appointment.
Minnesotans do not need to get their booster dose at the same location they received their initial series.
What is a booster shot?
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. But recent data suggest that protection against infection decreases over time. Health officials have determined a booster shot is necessary to maximize protection once protection from the original vaccine series begins to wane.
People who have received their initial vaccine series (2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) still have protection even once it starts to decline. The booster shot helps get protection back up to a higher level.
What if I am not yet eligible to get a booster?
Do not get a booster before you are due, which is six months after the Pfizer/Moderna primary series (two doses for most people) and two months after Johnson & Johnson dose.
Replacing your vaccine card
Many people received a COVID-19 vaccine card when they received their vaccination. Some did not get a card and others have lost, misplaced, or forgotten to enter the information needed. Individuals who need complete and official proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations have a couple of options:
- If you received your vaccine at a provider or pharmacy, contact the provider directly or use your patient portal and ask to have a copy of your vaccine record emailed, mailed to you, or available for pick up from your provider.
- If you received your vaccine at any provider in Minnesota, use the link to request a copy of your vaccine record from MIIC (Minnesota Immunization Information Connection). This may take 28 business days to process.
- The Minnesota Department of Health has also released the Docket, a free app available for download in Apple and Android app stores, enabling residents to securely view and share their immunization records.
- If you need to update your phone number and address to access your immunization records, go to Find My Immunization Record.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend people, vaccinated and not, get tested 5 to 7 days after exposure to COVID-19.
Minnesota has worked hard to make it easy and convenient to get tested for COVID-19. It is important to get tested if you:
- have not received your vaccine yet;
- and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms experiencing symptoms – even if you are already fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 testing options for Olmsted County residents
Residents can call various places to make an appointment to get tested for COVID-19. Below is a list of options for Olmsted County residents.
Mayo Clinic patients: Call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-293-9525.
Olmsted Medical Center patients: Call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-292-7266. Testing hours are Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Community Health Services (aka Migrant Health)
Appointments are required – call 507-529-0503 to schedule a time
Hy-Vee – Locations in Olmsted County
- 500 Crossroads Drive SW, Rochester, MN 55902
- 4221 West Circle Dr. NW, Rochester, MN 55901
- 220 Center Town Plz N, Stewartville, MN 55976
Appointments are required.
Register online: www.hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/services/covid-19-testing
Walgreens - Two locations in Olmsted County
Appointments are required - call 507-206-5132 to schedule a time
Register online: www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing
Compcare Occupational Medicine and Urgent Care
No appointment necessary.
Online Order MDH-Vault
The test kit is shipped directly to your home via expedited shipping. Follow instructions closely: www.learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota.
Keep in mind
The Minnesota Department of Health is working on Olmsted County's COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing.
- Not all individuals testing positive will get a call from MDH.
- MDH will focus on calling those under 18 years old, vaccine breakthrough cases, those with emerging variants of interest, and people who have had contact with individuals who are hospitalized or deceased.
- While all individuals may not receive a call, MDH will send an online survey to every individual testing positive in order to gather some basic information. The survey will not be as extensive as a telephone interview.
- MDH will also send information on what to do if you have tested positive, including how to reach out to people with whom you may have had close contact.
Preparing for the Holidays
Get vaccinated or a booster if eligible
Follow local and state guidelines
Take precautions indoors
Choose outdoor spaces when possible
Stay at home if you are feeling sick.
If you are hosting a holiday gathering at home or somewhere else, it may be helpful to communicate with your guests in advance about your COVID-19 ground rules and the precautions you are taking. Having conversations about COVID-19 vaccines may feel difficult, but it can help keep you and others safe.
Tips on having conversations about COVID-19 vaccines:
- Listen more than you talk: Make it a conversation, not a debate, and share information that you think is most important.
- Lead with empathy: If someone has questions about the vaccine, try to be understanding and helpful rather than dismissive
- Facts are important: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective. Here are helpful talking points that highlight facts and plain language when explaining the importance of vaccination and COVID-19 precautions.
- Be inviting and authentic: Share stories about why you and your friends or loved ones are vaccinated and celebrate others who have taken this step.