Hy-Vee cancels dozens of educators' vaccine appointments

Rachel Mills
Created: February 23, 2021 05:21 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Many teachers received disappointing phone calls from Hy-Vee pharmacies earlier this week after signing up for vaccination appointments online. 

"I think the way he phrased it was 'local pharmacies have apparently only been tasked with vaccinating those 65 and older,' and I said 'oh I thought I was eligible because I'm a teacher,' and he was like 'yeah so did we,'" a local teacher said about the call he received. 

One Hy-Vee pharmacy in Rochester said staff spent hours canceling dozens of vaccine appointments for teachers. 

Minnesota added Hy-Vee to the federal retail pharmacy program on Monday with the intention of vaccinating more people 65 and older, but teachers are only eligible for statewide programs. 

Hy-Vee released a statement saying the Minnesota Department of Health informed stores that teachers were not eligible after they had accepted those appointments.

"I understand their frustration but MDH has assured us that educators and school staff and other childcare workers would hear from various entities about where they could be vaccinated. So, it sounds like the state has a plan in place, which is great," Hy-Vee public relations director Christina Gayman said. 

Olmsted County Public Health tells us that most teachers in the area will be invited to receive vaccines either through their employer or other vaccination sites. Health officials said educators will be contacted when it's their turn.

Some teachers have said they are concerned about timing before a return to in-person learning.

"At this point, it's pretty much a guarantee that I will not have my vaccine before I'm required to report back to work in April," one local teacher said. 

Hy-Vee's spokesperson said she did not have an exact number of teachers who had appointments canceled and she did not know how this miscommunication happened. 

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