This edition is devoted to providing practical information about Covid-19 testing and vaccination. Legislators are receiving periodic briefings from the Minnesota Department of Health and I have been spending quite a bit of time trying to obtain vaccinations for my own vulnerable loved ones (so far, unsuccessfully). I’ve picked up a lot of useful information in the process, and I’d like to pass it along.
Saliva Covid-19 Testing is available at Creekside Community Center in Bloomington this week and next:
Creekside Community Center
9801 Penn Ave South
Bloomington, MN 55431
February 16-20, 22-26 12 - 6 p.m.
Visit this site to schedule an appointment:?mncovidtestingappt.as.me
Like many of you, I have become frustrated about aspects of the Covid-19 vaccination program rollout. Of course, at the root of the problem is the fact that the State has only received a tiny fraction of the vaccine needed to vaccinate the State’s 5.6 million residents. So far, 661,000 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. After a slow start, we’re now administering 88% of the doses that we’re receiving within 3 days of receiving them and 94% of them within a week. Getting the doses we have into arms – any arms – is not the problem it was at the beginning. If you want to track our overall progress, the State’s Vaccination Dashboard has excellent information.
The frustration that many of us are feeling is due to the seemingly arbitrary nature of the distribution processes. Now that the highest priority populations – front line healthcare workers and residents and workers in long term care settings – have largely been vaccinated, the focus has to shift to teachers and seniors aged 65+. When this was opened up to seniors 65 and over, it greatly increased the eligible demand for the limited vaccine supply, making it harder for the especially vulnerable 75+ population to obtain the vaccine. I’m 68 years old and I would have much preferred that my loved ones in the 75+ age category have a better chance to obtain the vaccine than that I should gain a small chance of obtaining a vaccination for myself. Adults with medical conditions that render them especially vulnerable to Covid-19 should also be in line before me.
Many of us have heard stories from friends and neighbors who have obtained a vaccination (or know someone who has) and the common thread in these stories invariably tells of someone who was either exceptionally lucky or extraordinarily persistent. Lucky like the friends who accompanied a teacher to a dedicated vaccination site for educators and were offered “leftover” vaccine so that it wouldn’t go to waste. Or the back office administrators at hospitals who were offered “leftover” vaccine meant for front line health care providers. Others spent hours monitoring reservation opportunities and were willing to drive, in one case, for over two hours each way to Alexandria, MN to receive a vaccination at a pharmacy there that had obtained a few doses. A few thousand people were the lucky “caller number nine” in the first rush of open reservations and others were lucky enough to win in the following “mega vaccine ball lottery”.
If you’re trying to find a way to get your elderly or infirm loved ones vaccinated, here are some of the steps that you can take to improve their odds.
The Minnesota Department of Health has created a Covid-19 Vaccine Finder which shows all of the locations receiving allocations of vaccines for eligible populations and an informative “About Covid-19 Vaccine” general information site, as well. May the odds be with you!
Keep in Touch
Now more than ever, please contact me anytime with questions, input, or ideas. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well.
Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol.
Representative, District 49B
Minnesota House of Representatives
515 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155