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MN launches Community COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program
Rochester Public Schools

Learn more about Minnesota's Community COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program.

 

Willow Creek Middle School has been chosen as one of the community pilot sites for Minnesota's Community COVID-19 Vaccine pilot program. We are excited about this opportunity and the ability to make vaccines available for our staff. More information on vaccines and who's being vaccinated can be found at https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/.

Please note that vaccines must be scheduled through the MN COVID-19 website listed above and that individuals should not call Willow Creek in an attempt to schedule an appointment. Vaccines are only available by appointment only, and walk-ins will not be accepted. Please do not visit Willow Creek unless you have a scheduled appointment.


*The following information is from the Minnesota Department of Health. Visit their website for the most up-to-date information.

Minnesota is piloting a community COVID-19 vaccine program, partnering with local public health and school districts, to place nine pilot clinics across the state. These pilot clinics will initially serve adults 65 years of age or older and prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff, and child care workers. 

While the vaccines at the pilot clinics will be administered by experienced professionals under strict medical guidance, the pilot program itself is a fact finding mission, not a final destination. It’s a laboratory, not a finished product. The purpose of the program is to find out what works and what doesn’t work. Every step of the way, we will be evaluating where the program succeeds and falls short, including but not limited to registration, clinic flow patterns, and timing. In doing so, we hope to learn how to most safely, efficiently and equitably protect Minnesotans from COVID-19 through community vaccination. 

As the state continues to wait on the federal government to increase the supply of vaccine to Minnesota, we are doing everything in our power to move quickly on all vaccine we do receive. 

Every shot in the arm is another step toward crushing COVID and meeting the goal of getting millions of Minnesotans vaccinated as quickly and as safely as possible. 

It’s our responsibility to have the infrastructure in place to get the limited number of doses per week the state’s currently receiving quickly and safely into arms. And it’s our responsibility to be ready to do the same when that supply finally increases to meet the huge demand. These community pilot clinics will help us build an efficient, equitable distribution system all Minnesotans can be proud of. 

The community vaccination pilot program will be the foundation for mass vaccination clinics in Minnesota communities once the federal government increases vaccine supply. The nine pilot clinics will launch this week with a small number of doses for eligible Minnesotans. 

There is a very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota. Minnesota has not yet received an increase in vaccine doses from the federal government. We encourage Minnesotans to remain patient as more vaccine arrives in the weeks and months ahead. 

While Minnesota is beginning to serve those age 65 and older, educators and child care workers, the state continues to serve healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff in Phase 1a. This pilot program will help ensure that Minnesota has a robust process in place when more vaccine is made available from the federal government. 

Healthcare workers and long-term care resident and staff can still receive the vaccine through their workplace, care facility, or local public health. Minnesota remains on pace to offer at least first doses of vaccine to all in these groups by the end of January. 

Additional details on Phase 1b are dependent on decisions to be made by the federal government and will be available in the weeks ahead. 

WHO CAN GET VACCINATED NOW 

  • The state is beginning to vaccinate new groups of Minnesotans this week, including: 
    • Adults 65 years of age or older; 
    • Prekindergarten through grade 12 educators and school staff at public school districts, charter schools, tribal schools and nonpublic school organizations; 
    • Staff working in licensed and certified child care programs. 
    • The state continues to vaccinate the health care workers and assisted-living residents and staff in phase 1a and is on track to having provided at least one shot to all 500,000 Minnesotans in that group before the end of the month. 
  • Minnesota will provide more details on phase 1b in the coming weeks as the incoming Biden administration provides more guidance to states. 

PEOPLE NOT IDENTIFIED IN THIS IMMEDIATE PHASE 

  • Right now, vaccine demand far outpaces our supply. 
  • We continue to immunize for impact and opening up supply to adults 65 years of age or older helps us protect the Minnesotans most at risk from serious complications of the virus, while ensuring no doses are wasted. 
  • Getting the vaccine to our prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff, and child care workers will also help ensure our kids can be in school. 
  • But we know there are Minnesotans who work in front line industries, those with underlying health conditions, and so many others who need access to the vaccine. 
  • We know it’s hard to be patient and it’s frustrating, but we simply do not have enough vaccine supply right now to reach everyone. 
  • We will get to you. As we get more vaccine supply, we will vaccinate more people. 

PILOT CLINICS / HOW TO SIGN UP 

  • In coordination with local public health and school districts, Minnesota is launching a pilot program this week to increase vaccination capacity in communities across the state and to prepare for the future when more vaccine is made available from the federal government. 
  • This pilot program will be the foundation for mass vaccination clinics in communities across the state for when we receive more vaccine supply from the federal government. 
  • There will be nine pilot clinics launched this week with a small number of doses for eligible Minnesotans. 
  • The pilot clinics are located in these nine cities: 
    • Brooklyn Center 
    • Andover 
    • Fergus Falls 
    • Mountain Iron 
    • Thief River Falls 
    • Saint Cloud 
    • North Mankato 
    • Rochester 
    • Marshall 

MINNESOTANS AGE 65 AND OLDER 

  • Appointments will be made by phone or on the website only. 
  • Beginning on Tuesday, January 19 at noon, Minnesotans age 65 and older can schedule an appointment online at mn.gov/vaccine or by phone 612-426-7230 or 833-431-2053. 
  • You MUST have an appointment. 
  • No walk-ins will be accepted, and anyone with the intention of walking in will be asked to leave and escorted out by security. 
  • No-shows will be filled from the waitlist only – not from people who just show up at a clinic. 
  • You can put yourself on the waitlist either through the call center or online – there is a separate waitlist for each pilot clinic. 
  • Making appointments for the second dose varies on which system the clinic uses. You will either sign up for your second dose when you make your appointment for your first dose, or you’ll make your second dose appointment during your first appointment. 

EDUCATORS, SCHOOL STAFF, CHILD CARE WORKERS 

  • The Governor has prioritized frontline education and child care workers that our healthcare system depends on to get kids back in school. 
  • Prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff and child care workers will work directly with their program or school to sign up for a vaccine appointment. 
  • Due to the very limited supply of vaccine, appointments are not open to all workers in these sectors in the pilot program. The limited vaccine doses have been allocated to regions associated with schools and based on a percentage of the workforce in child care and education. 
  • School districts, charter schools, tribal schools, and nonpublic school associations will select who participates in the pilot. 
  • Child care programs will be randomly selected and notified to secure an appointment through the state-sponsored pilot clinics. 

FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTERS 

  • From the beginning of the COVID-19 response the state has prioritized equity, because the health disparities that existed prior to the pandemic have been exacerbated by COVID-19. 
  • Continuing to center equity in Minnesota’s vaccine roll-out remains a top priority. 
  • As the state has received an extremely limited supply of the vaccine Minnesota is allocated from the federal government, this limited quantity creates challenges. 
  • The state’s planning includes provisions designed to ensure that vaccines are available in an equitable manner for those experiencing health disparities, especially Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color. 
  • To help ensure equitable distribution to communities that need it most in addition to these 9 pilot clinics, the state is working strategically with community clinics and other federally qualified heath centers who are well versed on how to serve Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color, as well as the uninsured. 
  • As people 65 and older are at higher risk for severe outcomes or severe illness from COVID-19, getting the vaccine out to those 65 and older is in line with the state’s goal of immunizing for impact to protect those who have the highest risk of serve complication from the virus. 
  • And the health disparities we see among BIPOC communities are also evident in the 65+ category. 
  • Therefore, as part of this phase, the state is working closely with trusted community hubs, aiming to have staff who speak languages other than English and interpreting services, and other efforts to ensure that equity remains at the center. 
  • But we need more vaccine – and faster – to come from the federal government so that we can reach all Minnesotans who need protection from the virus. 

PROVIDER ROLE IN VACCINATIONS 

  • Minnesota’s physicians and health care systems are eager to help vaccinate all eligible Minnesotans against COVID-19. 
  • Your provider will let you know when they have a vaccine available for eligible patients. While more people are eligible to receive the vaccine now, the supply remains very limited. 
  • Providers will let patients know when they can start making appointments for a vaccine and the Minnesota Department of Health will keep the public updated on vaccine supply and priority populations. Because of limited supply, you do not need to contact your provider at this time. 
  • Most community vaccinators, such as primary care clinics, urgent care clinics, and pharmacies, do not yet have vaccine for broad public use. 
  • If you don’t have a regular health care provider, you may be able to schedule an appointment through one of the state clinics, though limited supplies mean there will be more demand for vaccine than there are available doses. 
  • Please be patient. More opportunities for vaccination will be coming as the state receives more vaccine. 
  • In the meantime, please continue to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors by wearing a mask, washing your hands, maintaining social distance, and staying home when you feel sick.