Mayo Clinic holds COVID-19 pilot project to vaccinate those aged 80+

With the huge backlog of Minnesotans aged 65 and older waiting for their COVID-19 vaccines, the Mayo Clinic is taking a different and more targeted approach.

Mayo received about 3,200 doses from the Minnesota Department of Health Wednesday meant for community distribution. Mayo is working with MDH on a pilot project to limit the shots to those 80 years old and over.

The Mayo doctor leading the vaccination effort says given the very limited number of doses, they wanted to get them into the arms of the age group that is most likely to get hospitalized and die from the virus.

"Obviously, we would love give the vaccine to everyone over the age of 65," said Dr. Abinash Virk, the Mayo Clinic co-lead for Outpatient Vaccination Distribution. "If we had lots and lots of doses it would, we would be opening it up right away. But given that mismatch, one would have to look at what would be the best way to roll this out."

Dr. Virk says this is a data-driven approach to match a small number of doses with those who need it most. She says the United Kingdom and some other states are taking a similar path. 

All of Mayo’s slots are already full for this week’s allotment of the vaccines.