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The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Minnesota

Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine vials in a row macro close up

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?

  • Adults 65 and older
  • Health care workers
  • Residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Educators, school staff and childcare workers

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • Pharmacies, health clinics and medical providers Check the state’s online vaccine locations map or contact your health care provider about appointment availability. Some retail vaccine providers offer appointments online, including Walmart and Sam’s Club. You’ll need to create an account with your name and email to get a vaccine through Walmart or create a guest account to go through Sam’s Club. Keep in mind that different locations will have different sign-up processes.
  • Community vaccination sites in Duluth, Minneapolis and Rochester are administering vaccines on a limited basis as part of a state vaccination program. Preregistration for the chance to be randomly selected for an appointment is required; adults 65 and older who have not previously registered for the program can sign up using the state’s Vaccine Connector tool to be entered into the random selection process. 
  • Local public health agencies, state-sponsored community vaccination sites and state vaccination partners will contact educators, school staff and childcare workers directly with more information about when and where to get vaccinated.
  • Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others.
Minnesota prisoners receive COVID vaccine
An inmate receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a prison in Faribault.
Star Tribune via Getty Images/Star Tribune via Getty Images

AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. 

For more information, 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.

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.

If you are eligible due to an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible on the basis of your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?

People with specific high-risk health conditions and those working in food processing plants are expected to become eligible for vaccination in April; more information is available online. Sign up using the state’s Vaccine Connector tool to be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine and for more information about where and how to get vaccinated.   

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines because the science shows that older people are at higher risk of death from coronavirus.

How will residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities get vaccinated?

Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities are being vaccinated through a federal program that has contracted with CVS, Walgreens and Thrifty Drug Stores to administer the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines at three free on-site clinics at the facilities. Minnesota is taking part in the program.

Almost all nursing homes, which were given first priority, have completed their first and second clinics, and most have also finished their final clinics, according to data from CVS and Walgreens. Many assisted living and other long-term care facilities are also taking part in the program. Almost all of them have completed their first clinics, and most have completed their second. All the vaccination clinics are slated to be complete by late March. 

I’ve heard that some 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. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot. 

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.

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot.

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. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

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. 

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes. Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-world conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose.

The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC says it could take months for the population to build up immunity and continues to recommend preventive measures such as face masks and social distancing.

In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere although they would still provide some protection.

This guide, originally published Jan. 15, was updated March 3 with new information about vaccination efforts in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. 

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WATCH: AARP’s CEO on Fighting for Your COVID-19 Vaccination

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins

Also of Interest: 

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