Priority groups are set by the federal government. Each state has set priorities about who gets the vaccine first, based on these recommendations. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has provided additional guidelines and details for which groups will receive the vaccine first. MDH has established a COVID-19 vaccine allocation advisory group to help ensure the vaccine is distributed quickly and fairly across the state. The advisory group is made up of external partners who represent key populations in the state, such as local public health, long-term care, pharmacy partners, diverse communities, and more.
Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, and Olmsted County Public Health began vaccinating Phase 1A—priority one on December 18, 2020. At this time, only Phase 1A priority groups have been fully determined. Vaccinating all three groups in Phase 1A could take two to three months depending on how quickly vaccines will be available, allocated, and shipped. Weekly vaccine shipments are expected; however, they continue to be very limited and unpredictable at this time.
State vaccination pilot program
Last week, Rochester was host to one of nine regional vaccination sites for the State COVID-19 vaccine pilot program. The program is focused on increasing vaccination capacity across the state while preparing for the future when the state has more vaccine available. These pilot clinics served adults 65 years of age or older, along with pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff, and child care workers. From January 21 through January 23, these sites administered 13,369 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In all, 1,576 child care workers, 4,420 educators, and 7,373 adults 65+ were vaccinated over the three days.
There is only a small number of doses available. 65+ will now have an extended window of 24 hours to pre-register for the waitlist and appointments will be randomly selected from the waitlist. The 65+ pre-registration window for the waitlist will open at mn.gov/findmyvaccine from 5 a.m. Tuesday, January 26 until 5 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27.
The vaccine is available by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
At this time, the state vaccination pilot program is the only place the public can make an appointment for a vaccine. There’s no “list” for Olmsted County residents. Vaccinations are limited and the current priority groups are our front line health care workers and residents living in long term care facilities. Vaccinations are based on employment and place of residence; these individuals are contacted by their employer or the facility where they live. For our community, this group is very large and completion of this group could take longer than other communities.
Until vaccine supplies increase, we ask for your patience, understanding, and cooperation. Please do not call your primary care provider or local public health department.
Tips for getting ready for your COVID vaccination
- Make sure you sign up for your health care providers portal and that the notifications are turned on. This is likely how you will be contacted when you are eligible.
- Make sure that the email used for the portal is the current one you use. Notifications are sent to the email connected to the portal.
- Know the big three websites: your health care provider, your county public health department, and the Minnesota Department of Health Find My Vaccine page.