Local health officials excited about expanding vaccine eligibility

Mackenzie Davis
Updated: March 26, 2021 09:46 PM
Created: March 26, 2021 06:32 PM

(ABC 6 News) - It's an exciting day for many Minnesotans who see the vaccine as a way back to normalcy.

But, it will take a little bit of time to adjust to the increased demand and to navigate how much vaccine leaders at Olmsted County Public Health and leaders in other counties are going to get as well as figuring out the best way to get vaccine into people's arms.

"This was probably a shock in the sense that we were expecting this probably two to three weeks from now. It's a little earlier than what we anticipated," Amy Evans, planning section chief at Olmsted County Public Health, said.

Nevertheless, Olmsted County Public Health leaders are excited.

"Our focus, just like the governor had mentioned, is really to still focus on those priority groups. So we will still focus on those 1B3, we'll move into the 1C, but this allows us that flexibility that when we have trouble or difficulty getting those appointments filled, it allows us to go to a broader target audience," Evans said.

Olmsted county thinks additional vaccine doses will help everyone.

Evans says as vaccine distribution increases in general to the state, it's going to be spread throughout the system. 

Such as the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

"We also are anticipating that the pharmacies that have not been getting vaccine from the state or from the Federal Pharmacy Program, we anticipate that they will also start getting vaccine here in the next week or two," Evans said.

The expansion of eligibility by the governor is giving them the opportunity to reach more people.

"It's an exciting day for everybody, but it does come with some challenges. It's not going to happen overnight, it's not even going to happen in the next week," Evans said.

Most vaccine providers already have their allocation amounts set for the next week.

We also know that first doses and second doses will stay as planned. As of today, your second doses are still secure if you've already had your first dose.

"It's a matter of just getting the logistics worked out and anticipating how we're going to manage that," Evans said.

Mayo Clinic says it will increase access to vaccinations to these newly eligible people as the clinic receives more vaccine supply and it will continue to expand vaccination appointments and contact patients about eligibility based on the amount of vaccine available.

Mower county health leaders say they welcome the opportunity to have more vaccine and shift to vaccinating the broader population. 

One thing is clear from the experts: The more people get vaccinated, the faster things can return to normal.

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