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Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesotans aged 65 and older struggled to book appointments to be vaccinated at one of the nine pilot programs that opened last week, which has prompted the state to announce new guidelines for getting an appointment. 

Gov. Tim Walz on Monday announced updates to the registration process that the state says will account for high demand both online and via the telephone, in addition to to creating a "more equitable and orderly" process. 

Key updates: 

  • People age 65 and older have access to a 24-hour window beginning 5 a.m. Tuesdays to pre-register for a randomized opportunity for an appointment. 
  • That eliminates the first come, first served process that was in place last week. 
  • It also allows Minnesotans who are 65 and older time to pre-register rather than being forced to rush online or call during in a high-demand window. 
  • Everyone who was on the wait list from last week will be automatically pre-registered to be randomly selected for an appointment.
  • Persons randomly selected to receive a vaccine appointment will be notified on Wednesday by text, email or phone call. 

The state is urging people 65 and older to pre-register at between 5 a.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday. You an also pre-register over the phone by calling 833-431-2053, though the call-in window is only open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

Last week, more than 13,300 Minnesotans received their first vaccine dose as part of the pilot program, and this week only around 8,000 doses will be available at the nine pilot vaccination clinics. 

The reason for the few doses is due to what the state calls a "crippling vaccine supply shortage," which calls for Minnesotans "to remain patient for their shot as we wait for the federal government to provide more vaccine."

“This is about having the infrastructure in place to be ready when the federal government finally begins to send us more vaccine,” Gov. Walz said in a release, which he will expound upon at a 2 p.m. press conference.

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Mass vaccination for metro area teachers, child care workers

Walz's office has also confirmed a 5-day mass vaccination even at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for Twin Cities metro area teachers, school staff and child care workers. 

The state is allocating 15,000 of its available vaccine doses to the event, which will be held at the Xcel Energy Center from Thursday, Jan. 28 to Monday, Feb. 1. 

Education and child care employees will be contacted through their employer about appointment opportunities for the event, in addition to opportunity for appointments at any of the nine other pilot clinics. 

Child care programs will be randomly selected while education staff in greater Minnesota will have opportunities, albeit limited, for vaccine at the greater Minnesota pilot programs. 

The pilot clinics are located in: Blaine (moved from Andover), Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, Sartell, North Mankato, Rochester, Marshall and St. Paul.

The clinics in Blaine and Brooklyn Center will only serve people aged 65 and older this week. 

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