MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz’s administration launched a tool Thursday to help Minnesotans figure out where they can get vaccinated once they become eligible to get a shot in the weeks and months ahead.
The tool is called the Vaccine Connector, and the governor says it’s the next step in the state’s vaccination strategy.
“We still have a frustratingly limited vaccine supply from the federal government, but every Minnesotan should know their chance to get a vaccine will come. Today, we are connecting them directly to that process,” Walz said, in a statement. “We need to make it as easy as possible for every Minnesotan to get the vaccine when it’s their turn – no matter where they live and no matter their personal circumstances. The options we’re providing will help make that happen.”
All Minnesotans who haven’t been vaccinated are encouraged to sign up for the Vaccine Connector, no matter their current eligibility status. Minnesotans can sign up online or over the phone at 833-431-2053. Translations are available in Spanish, Hmong and Somali. The Vaccine Connector is free to use.
When signing up for the tool, Minnesotans will provide basic information, such as their contact details, demographic data and medical history. Questions will also be asked regarding race, cultural identification, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disabilities so as to help officials track the equitable distribution of the vaccine.
Minnesotans may choose not to provide certain information regarding their identity and still complete the sign-up form.
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When Minnesotans become eligible to get the vaccine, the Vaccine Connector will help them figure out when, where and how to get the vaccine, utilizing the state’s network of local pharmacies, hospitals and vaccination sites.
However, the appointment for the initial shot will be made through the registered vaccinator. The Vaccine Connector simply lets users know the options available to them, allowing them to figure out what will work best.
“This is just a good tool so you can just double check and know that someone has your back and you are getting the correct information and knowing when it’s your time and you’re not going out of order in terms of priority,” Molly Anderson, who signed up for the Vaccine Connector Thursday, said. “That’s kind of a big one for me.”
Currently, the state is working to inoculate residents in long-term care facilities, frontline health care workers, teachers, child care workers and Minnesotans ages 65 and older. Nearly 1 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the state since December.
While all Minnesotans who’ve yet to be vaccinated are encouraged to sign up for the Vaccine Connector, those who currently qualify will not need to re-submit their information and may be instructed through their employer.
For instance, health care workers will hear about vaccine opportunities from their employer; long-term care residents will be notified by their facility; teachers who’ve completed the state’s Education and Child Care survey are already signed up, and Minnesota seniors who’ve registered for the vaccine do not need to re-submit their information, as they can continue to use the Vaccine Locator map.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Minnesota almost a year ago, nearly 500,000 people in the state have tested positive for the virus and more than 6,000 people have died.
Source: CBS Minnesota