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Faribault, Martin counties struggle to fill vaccine appointments

The counties have opened up appointments to nonresidents.

Two southern Minnesota counties are facing challenges administering all COVID-19 vaccines, opening up appointments to nonresidents.

Martin and Faribault counties received 300 doses of vaccine last week and administered 270 of those doses.

But according to Chera Sevcik, executive director and community health services administrator for Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties, 14% of the doses administered went to people living outside the counties, largely from the metro area.

Sevcik said it has become increasingly challenging to ensure all doses the counties receives end up in arms. The area’s ten providers are required to administer 90% of shots they receive within 72 hours, meaning residents have had ample opportunity to get a vaccine, Sevcik said.

For the remaining 30 doses the counties need to administer, only 30% of appointments have been filled. Martin and Faribault counties are not scheduled to receive any new doses this week, with Sevcik declining the new shots so they can be used where there's more demand.

“This should tell us where we are at for demand and what the needs may be moving forward,” Sevcik wrote in an email. “If the existing health care partners who have vaccine experience difficulty in filling appointment slots, it may indicate we have reach a saturation point and decreased interest.”

As of April 10, 2,084,657 Minnesotans have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 1,420,328 have completed their vaccine series.

That means that 47% of Minnesotans aged 16 and over have received at least one COVID vaccine dose, still short of the of the 70% threshold of people who have either been vaccinated or who have previously been infected with COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 5,076 people in Faribault county have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 3,563 have received both doses. In Martin County, 7,563 have received the first dose, and 5,683 have received both doses. 

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