'Liquid gold': Seniors, healthcare workers line up for COVID-19 vaccine at Canterbury Park

COVID-19 vaccination efforts are ramping up across the Twin Cities metro area, including at Canterbury Park where the focus was on frontline healthcare workers and seniors.

The Scott County Public Health Department took over Canterbury’s Expo Building Thursday to vaccinate those considered "unaffiliated" or independent frontline medical personnel, who aren’t connected with larger healthcare groups. This includes chiropractors, optometrists and dental staff.

The clinic was appointment-only, requiring pre-registration. The goal was to vaccinate 800 people with local seniors aged 65 and up also eligible.

Plai Vang, a certified medical assistant in the field of occupational medicine, rolled up his sleeve for a first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

"It is very convenient and awesome that they’re able to get all the classifications of work and people," said Vang.

Mary and Tom Haeg, who are both in their 70s, of Shakopee were both appreciative of the ease of the set-up. They were able to avoid the state’s current vaccine lottery sign-up system for seniors.

"I miss our granddaughters huge," said Mary Haeg.

She says she’s looking forward to spending more time with their family and friends.

"We’re tired of being cooped up, but we do what we need to do to stay safe, but it will be nice to get out and socialize with our friends and things like that," said Mary Haeg.

Thursday’s clinic is an expansion of Scott County’s mission to take the vaccine to the people, having already visited police stations, fire departments and congregate care facilities in this phase of the pandemic fight.

The process at the clinic was streamlined with a designated syringe prep area and the vaccinators placed at spaced-out stations. Not a drop wasted of what Scott County officials call "liquid gold."

"To have people come up and say, 'Thank you so much, we’ve been waiting for this. We are so ready for this.' That’s why we do what we do," said Brittani Schmidt, a Scott County Public Health nurse.

The Scott County Public Health team is already looking forward to next week when staff will be heading back to long-term care facilities to start administering second doses.