En español| Who is eligible to get vaccinated?
- All Minnesotans 12 and up
- Booster shots are available for Pfizer recipients age 65-plus, residents at long-term care facilities and certain other high-risk groups.
- Third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are recommended for certain immunocompromised people.
Where can I get vaccinated?
- Pharmacies: Shots and boosters are being administered at all Walmart, Sam's Club and Hy-Vee pharmacies and select CVS and Walgreens locations, some of which are offering walk-in vaccinations. But if you'd prefer to schedule your shot in advance, links to local pharmacies offering appointments can be found through the state's vaccine locations page.
- The federal government’s vaccines website, www.vaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccines and booster shots by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
- Government-run vaccination sites, health providers, hospitals and community sites are giving shots, with some sites taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary. Sign in to the state's Vaccine Connector tool, and check the state’s online vaccine locations map and the state vaccination program for details or to schedule an appointment. You can also visit the state’s online COVID-19 vaccine page or call the state’s COVID-19 helpline at 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504. Minnesota's COVID-19 data dashboard is tracking how many people have been vaccinated in the state.
- Transit services and in-home vaccinations are not being offered by the state. But you can check with your county, since some local health departments may be providing these services.
- Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. You can sign up with VA.
How do I know if I need a booster shot?
Pfizer boosters are authorized for those 65-plus, residents at long-term care facilities and people ages 18 to 64 at high risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 or at high risk of repeated exposure due to their jobs, such as health care staff, teachers and grocery store workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends those eligible for boosters receive one at least six months after their second vaccine shot.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are expected to be authorized in the coming weeks.
If you’re immunocompromised and think you may be eligible for a third shot, the CDC recommends talking with your health care provider about your medical condition and whether getting an additional dose makes sense. You can make a third-dose appointment at the locations above or get a walk-in appointment at some pharmacies. You’ll need the dates of your previous COVID vaccinations (available on your vaccination card) when making an appointment for a third dose. You may also need to present proof of your medical condition.
What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.
How are vaccinations working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities?
Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Minnesota were offered COVID-19 vaccinations through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer vaccines via free on-site clinics. The program has ended, but to ensure long-term care facilities still have access to vaccines for new residents or staff, the federal government is continuing to allocate doses to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities. Boosters are recommended for residents and staff at long-term care facilities who received the Pfizer vaccines, the CDC says. It’s not yet clear how those shots will be rolled out.
AARP is calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for nursing home residents and staff. The federal government has ordered all nursing home staff be vaccinated in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid dollars.
Which vaccines require a second shot?
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable.
After receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should get a card from your provider stating when to return for the second dose. Providers may also contact you with text, email or phone reminders.
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot. A Food and Drug Administration warning says the vaccine has been connected with rare, severe blood clots in a small number of recipients, especially in women age 50 years and younger, and an increased risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself.
Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
What should I do with my vaccine card?
You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.
You may need your vaccine card to schedule a third vaccine dose, for certain immunocompromised people, or a booster shot. You may also need it for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft.
If you’ve lost your vaccine card, call the site where you were vaccinated to request a new one or a copy of your vaccination record. You can also contact your state health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record.
When will kids be able to get vaccinated?
Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those age 12 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months.
How protected am I post-vaccination? I've heard about breakthrough infections.
All three vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. But no vaccine is 100 percent effective and breakthrough infections, while rare, have been reported.
According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, breakthrough infections affect only 0.01 to 0.29 percent of fully vaccinated people in states that have reported data. The CDC is tracking the tiny percentage of fully vaccinated people in the United States who have been hospitalized with or died from COVID-19.
Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?
It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and after the second dose of the two-dose shots.
Due to the continuing circulation of the Delta variant, the CDC is recommending fully vaccinated people in areas with high and substantial COVID-19 transmission wear a mask in indoor settings, including schools.
Due to the continuing spread of the Delta variant, the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend everyone, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks in indoor settings where transmission may occur, such a schools or businesses, and in crowded outdoor settings in areas with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19.
The CDC also recommends continuing to wear a mask on planes, buses and trains and other shared transport while traveling into, within or out of the United States.
This guide, originally published Jan. 15, was updated on Sept. 24 with new information about booster shots.
Also of Interest:
- What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?
- What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines
- Read AARP's full coronavirus coverage