Seniors, educators, child care providers get COVID-19 vaccines in Minnesota's pilot program

Jessica Miles
Updated: January 21, 2021 09:20 PM
Created: January 21, 2021 03:50 PM

Sixty-nine-year-old Sue Murr has been anxiously waiting for her COVID-19 vaccination.

She's one of a few hundred at the Earl Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center with an appointment to get the shot.

"I have a newborn grandson and I have a father in a nursing home and I'm an essential caregiver, so it was critical to get in," she said.

The site is one of nine sites throughout the state administering shots to patients as part of Minnesota's pilot program.

A huge open space is set up with a registration table, areas where the Pfizer vaccine wll be mixed and then passed out to people.

There are eight vaccination stations with each hoping to do 10-12 doses per hour, which equates to about 800 shots in 8 hours Thursday.

Each of the 12,000 COVID-19 doses at the pilot sites are spoken for; about 2,400 will be given in Brooklyn Center and another 2,400 at the Andover site, leaving about 1,000 each for the remaining seven sites.

While this week's doses are spoken for, there is a plan in place in case someone doesn't show up for their appointment.

"We will be monitoring that on an hourly basis and at the end of the day, if no-shows, we will figure it out so that nothing goes wasted," Eddie Haubrich, incident commander with the State Emergency Operations Center, said.

When asked if that means some on the waiting list could get a shot Thursday, he said 'yes.'

"Today, on the same day," he said.

Just as important as the shot is working out the mechanics of mass vaccinations, which is something the state is watching with these pilot sites.

"We've been giving vaccinations already in the community, what this pilot focuses on is how do we scale that up to do this even faster, even quicker," said Abhi Andley, owner of Homeland Health Specialists.

His staff is administering the vaccines.

For patients like Murr, the vaccine is a stress reliever.

"I want to be here a while, and not battle COVID, so I'm grateful, very grateful," Murr said.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health said 849 vaccines had been administered at the Brooklyn Center site, 808 in Andover, 368 in St. Cloud and 374 in Rochester. Clinics in Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, North Mankato and Marshall are set to open later this week.


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