COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Minnesota becoming easier to find

Cases of COVID-19 are rising among all age groups in Minnesota, as health officials say there is an abundance of vaccines available.

At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, vaccine appointments are available this week and it’s a similar story with Allina Health.

"We’ve got appointments available through the rest of this week and into next week, so you wouldn’t be waiting more than a week," said Dr. Kevin Best of Allina Health.

In fact, Allina even took to Facebook on Wednesday looking for arms to get 1,200 doses into by Saturday. Most of those slots filled, but plenty more appointments are available for anyone who’s been waiting.

"And to those people, I think that this is the time for them," Dr. Best. "That again, it’s a lot easier to find appointments now. It doesn’t require hours of searching and a lot of work."

In Minnesota, the health department says 42% of people have at least one dose and just over 30% have full vaccination. They say the surge of people aggressively looking for a shot is done. Now they’re running into those who are either hesitant or waiting and may think they still have to work too hard to hunt one down.

"To both of those points, I think we can say thank you for allowing others to go first, but it’s ok now to take your place in line," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Kris Ehresmann. "And then second, to say that you don’t have to be up in the middle of the night or be a computer whiz to get an appointment at this point."

Another problem providers are now running into is health department guidelines state that 90% of their shipments need to be used within three days. Officials will likely loosen that up next week to give people even more options.

"The three-day goal has been a significant barrier to being able to be flexible, what it means is if we receive the vaccine shipment on Tuesday afternoon, we really could not plan a Saturday clinic," said Dr. Melanie Swift of the Mayo Clinic.