ST. PAUL – State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) said there are positives and negatives to report regarding Minnesota and the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Walz administration has been under scrutiny this week for the slow rollout of the more than 500,000 vaccine doses that have been delivered by the federal government. In mid-January, Minnesota ranked last in the Midwest in total percent of our supply used, and last in the Midwest for doses administered per 100 people.
By comparison, North and South Dakota are among the highest in the nation; North Dakota has administered 71% of the doses received and South Dakota has administered 61%. Minnesota is last in the Midwest with just 34% of our supply used.
“This is a situation where we can’t operate this slowly,” Hamilton said. “Our elderly and most vulnerable residents are waiting for their vaccine, and we need to do all we can to help them.”
But Hamilton said there is some good news to report. The Walz administration announced it would be opening up the availability of the vaccine to include all Minnesotans age over the age of 65. It was also announced that a new community COVID-19 vaccine program that partners with local public health and school districts at nine locations across the state—including North Mankato and Marshall.
The pilot sites are initially serving adults aged 65 and older, Pre-K through Grade 12 teachers and school staff, and staff working at licensed and certified child care programs. According to the announcement, a "small number of doses" will be available at each site for eligible Minnesotans, and appointments can be made by phone or online only for Minnesotans aged 65 and older.
Hamilton said the system went online January 19 and promptly crashed due to the overwhelming number of people trying to log on and call to schedule an appointment.
“Hopefully these problems are cleaned up quickly because our residents need the vaccine,” Hamilton said. “The surest way we are going to return to normal and have all of our businesses and school fully and safely open is to get Minnesotans vaccinated.”
To check your eligibility and secure an appointment, visit mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/index.jsp