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MDH looks to ramp up essential worker vaccines in SW Minnesota

The two events are part of the state's effort to vaccinate frontline workers, including those in food processing and agriculture.

The State of Minnesota this week will host two community COVID-19 vaccination events in southwestern Minnesota in an effort to vaccinate more frontline workers, including those working in food processing and agriculture. 

The temporary vaccination events will be held at the MERIT Center in Marshall and at the Worthington Event Center in Worthington. Eligible Minnesotans can get the vaccine. 

“Across the state, we continue to build an expansive network of providers to bring vaccines directly to Minnesotans in their communities. Our Community Vaccine Program is a key component of this provider network,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “These new opportunities in Marshall and Worthington will help us reach even more people in southern Minnesota, including hard-working folks in food processing and agriculture.”

Those working in food processing and meatpacking plants were hit hard by COVID early on in the pandemic, with Worthington one of the sites of the earliest major outbreaks in Minnesota, with cases linked back to a meat production facility.

Workers in these settings have been prioritized to get the shot in the most recent round of eligibility. 

“The Community Vaccine Program locations in Marshall and Worthington will help us get shots to more Minnesotans who need them – including essential workers whose jobs put them at increased risk of COVID exposure,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a statement. “Minnesota providers are working hard to get shots to everyone who needs them, and we’re excited to stand up addition Community Vaccination opportunities in southern Minnesota to help make that possible.”

These "one-time events" are the latest in the state's COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Minnesota also has large-scale community vaccination sites in Minneapolis, Duluth, Rochester, Bloomington, Saint Paul, St. Cloud, and Mankato as part of the state's Community Vaccination Program.

Walz notes that before the state can "rein in COVID-19" and safety resume elements of normal life, the state needs "broad community protection" and he is urging Minnesotans to get vaccinated with the first shot available to them.

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How to get the vaccine

The governor's office says Minnesotans should sign up for the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector (you can do that here), which will notify people about vaccine opportunities near them. Those who are currently eligible will be randomly selected for an appointment at a Community Vaccination Program location, and they'll be contacted directly if they can make an appointment. 

Those who can't sign up online or who require translation assistance can call 833-431-2053 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday to sign up over the phone.

The state also has a vaccine finder map online here, which allows people to search for local providers and schedule appointments. 

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