The office of Gov. Tim Walz has announced a community vaccination event at the Minnesota Vikings' Eagan campus with 13,400 of the newly-arrived Johnson & Johnson vaccines made available.
The governor confirmed Thursday morning that the five-day event, which starts on Friday and is running in partnership with the Vikings, will be open to unvaccinated healthcare workers and over-65s, and will be held at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Appointments for over-65s will be filled via the state's Vaccine Connector tool that directs eligible people to their nearest available appointment. Appointments for health care workers "will be filled through notification by local public health," a state spokesman said.
If you're looking for an appointment elsewhere, you can use the state's Vaccine Finder.
Minnesota received its first shipment of more than 45,000 J&J vaccines on Wednesday. They have an efficacy rate that is lower than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but have been shown to be effective against COVID-19 variants where the others haven't yet.
What's more, the J&J vaccine can be stored for up to three months in a regular fridge, and requires just a single dose compared to the two doses weeks apart required by Pfizer and Moderna.
The Eagan campus will join five other community vaccination sites already up and running in Minnesota, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, Mall of America in Bloomington, and at sites in Duluth and Rochester.
On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz said that thanks to an uptick in vaccine arrivals from the federal government as well as the approval of the J&J vaccine, Minnesota should be its goal to vaccinate 70% of over-65s earlier than the "end of March" target.
When 70% of the older population has been vaccinated, the state's vaccine will become available to more Minnesotans, with certain essential workers and those with particular chronic health conditions next in line.
“This partnership with the Minnesota Vikings helps us move the ball down the field in the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Tim Walz. “This one-and-done vaccine is safe, highly effective, and helps us more quickly provide immunity to Minnesotans including to our courageous health care providers and our older neighbors."
"With more than 1.4 million doses administered to nearly 930,000 Minnesotans, broad community vaccination is in sight and a return to normalcy is within reach," he added. "We are looking forward to being in the stands for high school football under the Friday night lights, the Gophers dominating on Saturdays, and the Vikings winning on Sundays this fall."