PRINCETON, Minn. (FOX 9) - About 300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were dispensed at clinic at a Princeton elementary school Thursday night as part of creative effort by community leaders in greater Minnesota to make sure the vaccine is given out efficiently.
The clinic was made possible on short notice, thanks to Mille Lacs County Public Health, which provided the vaccines, and quick planning by Princeton Public Schools.
"In greater Minnesota we don’t have Xcel Energy Centers or Target Centers or U.S. Bank Stadiums," said Ben Barton, the superintendent of Princeton Public Schools. "In greater Minnesota, in most communities, your schools are probably the most equipped places to hold a large scale event."
The district got experience with distributing vaccines to their own staff over two clinics.
"As of last week, 100% of our team members - and we’re close to 600 team members in our district - 100% of those have had the opportunity to be vaccinated," said Barton.
District officials wanted to offer space at Princeton Primary School to the county for more widespread distribution to those eligible.
"We’re here for the kids, but an extension of the children is the families," said Nicole Wyganowksi, a school nurse with Princeton Public Schools. "We want to make sure the parents, grandparents are protected here as well."
Thursday night, school staff was on hand to help and school nurses administered the vaccines.
"We wouldn’t be able to do this without the school nurses in Mille Lacs County. I have three staff nurses and myself to give vaccinations," said Kay Winterfeldt, of Mille Lacs County Public Health.
Those in line were just glad to have gotten their shot close to home.
"It’s convenient, close to where people want to be, I think it works really well actually," said Marc Johnson, a vaccine recipient.
The plan is to hold more clinics like this one. While nothing has been formally scheduled, district and county leaders say they are ready for when the vaccines become available to even more Minnesotans.