NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — With many eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine, eligible Minnesotans can now schedule appointments for it at nine pilot locations across the state.
Because it is a pilot program, the Minnesota Department of Health is reminding everybody to stay patient.
The nine locations will initially serve adults 65 and older, as well as pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, staff and child care workers.
It’s a first step for the state’s vaccine rollout.
“These initial clinics will set the state on a path for a more extensive network of vaccination clinics in Minnesota communities as the federal government increases vaccine supply,” said Kris Ehresmann from the Minnesota Department of Health.
State health care systems are also providing limited vaccine doses to people 65 and older.
The MDH said providers are developing systems to let current patients know when they can make an appointment.
Providers will contact patients, so there is no need to contact them directly.
If you are 65 and older, you can make appointments by visiting mn.gov/vaccine or by calling 612-426-7230 or toll-free at 1-833-431-2053.
The MDH said you should try making appointments online first.
If you can’t make an appointment, you may be able to sign up for a waitlist. If you had no luck Tuesday, your next opportunity to make an appointment is next week.
Available appointments refresh every Tuesday at noon.
Additionally, the MDH said educators and child care providers will work directly with their employer to receive instructions on how to get a vaccination appointment and should not try to schedule one.
The pilot clinics are located in Andover, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, St. Cloud, North Mankato, Rochester and Marshall.
There are no walk-in appointments available at this time.
The state began taking appointments at noon Tuesday for a limited supply of 12,000 doses available to seniors, teachers and child care workers at nine sites statewide.
The call center has received more than 83,000 calls, with up to 2,000 hits per second.
People are reporting long waits and error messages on the registration website.
State health officials said half of the doses are reserved for seniors and half are for teachers and child care workers.
Nicollet County Health and Human Services said they plan to vaccinate 1,000 people each week for the first two weeks.
Every person who is vaccinated will have the opportunity to schedule a second vaccine appointment for 21 days later.
Staff wants you to know that you will receive all the details you need when you make your appointment, including where to go.