All of this week's COVID vaccine pilot program appointments are filled

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans who are 65 and older registered for appointments between noon Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
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All available appointments this week for adults 65 and older in the state's new COVID-19 vaccine pilot program have been filled.

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans who are 65 and older registered for appointments between noon Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said in a news Wednesday.

The appointment reservation process didn't go smoothly for most Minnesotans, who were met with busy phone lines and crashing websites, MPR News explains, which prompted criticism from some Republican state legislators.

Another nearly 6,000 appointments were reserved this week for educators, school staff and child care workers. 

Those with appointments this week will get their first COVID-19 vaccine at one of the nine pilot clinics between Thursday and Saturday. 

Health officials have said it will take months to vaccinate these two groups of people due to the limited amount of vaccines available. Access to vaccines is expected to increase as the federal government provides more doses to the state to administer. 

“This pilot program is designed to help us how to best serve Minnesotans through our community vaccination strategy,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a news release Tuesday. “What we learn now will help us ensure a smooth process when more doses arrive from the federal government and we can open more community vaccination clinics all across Minnesota. Please be patient. There is not enough vaccine for everyone who wants it. If you cannot make an appointment now, you will be able to soon.”

The pilot clinics are located in Andover, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, St. Cloud, North Mankato, Rochester and Marshall. The state's vaccine website is here

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