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Pop-up vaccine clinics provide access to Minnesotans in need

There will be 12 more pop-up clinics by the end of April.

Around 300 people in Golden Valley had the opportunity to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The pop-up clinic at WorkAbilities in Golden Valley was the 20th pop-up clinic the state has launched in recent weeks, providing a more convenient location for those who may find it more difficult to get an appointment at a clinic, or can't travel easily to one of Minnesota's large-scale community sites.

"We want you to be able to get the vaccine at a place that you trust from somebody you trust," said Dan Pollock, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The pop-up clinics were specifically created to reach people who lack transportation, have language barriers or don't have internet access. 

Getting vaccine to as many Minnesotans as possible, especially those who simply don't have the means to get to a vaccination site, is part of the state's vaccination goal. The pop-up clinics will continue to open at churches, congregate dining centers, low-income housing complexes and other places. 

Twenty such pop-up clinics have been held and another dozen will take place before the end of April, according to Pollock. The clinics have helped administer 7,000 doses so far. 

"It's really helping people who are older adults, people with disabilities, people from all walks of life who just have some struggles or barriers. We're going to help them overcome those," said Pollock. "We're going to make sure they get access to the vaccine so they have the same opportunities to get back to the regular life that everybody wants with the vaccination." 

Gov. Tim Walz was at the Golden Valley pop-up clinic, where he said vaccination is about equity and people in need "have every right to be treated the same and have the same access as everyone else." 

Walz said the Department of Health is open to hearing from outlets in Minnesota that might be interested in hosting a pop-up vaccination site. 

The state has not yet announced where the next 12 pop-up clinics will be located, as they are not available to the general public. 

Here's more about the pop-up clinics from the health department: 

"For some people, we need to bring vaccines into their communities and connect with them in settings they are familiar with. That may be in senior centers, day services for people with disabilities, churches, or other community program spaces. Reaching people through the pop-up clinics in community settings where they are comfortable can help overcome barriers some people have related to transportation, language, or Internet access.

"The pop-up clinics aren’t broadly open to the public the way the large-scale vaccination sites or pharmacy appointments are. Instead, community or services organizations are the ones recruiting the people they serve to be a part of the vaccination clinic and must identify 50 to 1,000 people who can receive vaccination in a single day. Right now, we’re primarily focusing on programs that serve seniors and people with disabilities."

WorkAbilities is a place to work for those who are "medically fragile with complex physical needs to those who need minimal coaching and supervision and benefit from paid work opportunities."

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