(FOX 9) - Minnesota is eliminating the first come, first serve system for COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people ages 65 and older. Instead, people 65 and older can pre-register on the state’s online vaccine portal starting Tuesday for a chance to be randomly selected for an appointment.
The state updated the process after high demand for the vaccine crashed the website last Tuesday, the first day people 65 and older could register for an appointment to get their shot.
"The updated process accounts for anticipated high demand for appointments online and at the call center and allows for more equitable and orderly access to appointments by eliminating the first come, first served system," according to the news release from Gov. Tim Walz’s office.
Last week, Minnesota expanded its COVID-19 vaccine program to include people ages 65 and older, teachers and child care workers. People ages 65 and older were asked to sign up online or call for an appointment at one of the nine community vaccination clinics that opened across the state, while teachers and child care workers would be notified by their employer if they were selected to receive an appointment.
More than 13,300 Minnesotans were vaccinated at the community vaccination clinics over three days.
How do I sign up for a vaccine appointment this week?
Minnesotans age 65 and older will now have a 24-hour window of time beginning at 5:00 am Tuesday to pre-register for a randomized opportunity to get an appointment. Signing up for the pre-registration list means you will have a chance to be randomly selected, so you do not have to register right away: it is not a first come, first serve system.
You can pre-register online at mn.gov/findmyvaccine. The website will be open for pre-registering from 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 until 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
If you are unable to register online, you may call 833-431-2053 to sign up. The call center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26 for those that are unable to use the website to register.
Can I sign-up for the pre-registration list more than once to increase my chances of being selected?
No. Minnesotans can only sign up for the pre-registration list once. The registration system will automatically remove duplicate entries and you cannot transfer your appointment to someone else. If you are selected and cannot use your appointment, another Minnesotan on the pre-registration list will be randomly selected for that appointment.
What if I was on the waitlist last week?
Everyone who is currently on the waitlist from the first week will be automatically pre-registered to be randomly selected for an appointment.
When will I be notified if I was selected to receive a vaccine this week?
If you are randomly selected to receive a vaccine this week, you will be notified on Wednesday, Jan. 27 by text, email, or phone with instructions on how to finalize your appointment. If you elect to receive a phone call, please be certain to answer your phone as, due to time constraints in filling appointments, reservationists will make two contact attempts.
Appointments are required to receive a shot. Minnesotans without an appointment should not visit a community vaccination pilot clinic. No walk-ins will be accepted.
How many doses of the vaccine will be available this week?
Only about 8,000 doses of the vaccine will be available to Minnesotans age 65 and over at the pilot community clinics this week, compared to about 6,000 doses last week. Minnesotans are encouraged to remain patient if they are not selected to receive the vaccine this week. The state expects the federal government to provide more vaccines in the coming weeks.
What do I do if I’m not selected this week?
At this time, so long as the pilot continues, you will stay on the list. If you prefer to get your vaccine at your regular health care provider, you do not need to contact them at this time. They will be reaching out to all eligible Minnesotans to schedule appointments for vaccination. At this time, so long as the pilot continues, you will stay on the list and do not to pre-register again for the pilot program.