More than 13,000 Minnesotans received COVID-19 vaccine over past 3 days

Minnesota health officials say 13,369 educators, child care providers and people over the age of 65 were vaccinated over the last several days.

The state expanded vaccine eligibility last week, launching nine community vaccine clinics across Minnesota.

Officials say the first week of the pilot came with a learning curve, as the website crashed due to high traffic.

"Part of the pilot is to work through the kinks and make sure that we’re able to handle it when we have enough vaccine to roll it out big time," said assistant health commissioner Dan Huff.

Huff said they also learned quite a bit about the process itself, saying they were able to vaccinate 11 percent more than planned as there were additional doses in the viles.

"As the nurses worked through and got more experience, they were able to get even more doses out of a vile. So at first, it was maybe just five doses, then they began to get good practice and extend that," he said.

The additional doses went to individuals on the wait list.

Health officials say the long term plan is to extend vaccinations to primary care clinics and local pharmacies. But the largest healthcare provider in greater Minnesota, Centra Care Health, says we are still months away from that.

"It will be a few months before you might say that it’s open for everybody," said Centra Care COVID-19 Incident Commander Dr. George Morris.

Morris believes 70 to 90 percent of people must be vaccinated to reach heard immunity. Currently 4.5 percent of Minnesotans have received the first dose.

Huff says they will be making changes going into week two of the pilot program, including improvements to the website.

"Unfortunately, we still have a limited number of doses to give so people will still be frustrated," said Huff.