New Minnesota COVID-19 vaccine lottery gives seniors 24 hours to sign up

Minnesotans ages 65 and older have until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning to sign up to be entered into a lottery to receive a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 

Last week, Minnesota expanded its COVID-19 vaccine program to include people 65 and older as well as teachers and child care workers. But, that led to a lot of frustration after high demand for the vaccine crashed the registration website last Tuesday. 

The state is now eliminating the first come, first served system for signing up for a vaccine appointment. Starting this week, vaccine appointments will now be handed out randomly—not by who signs up first. 

Minnesotans age 65 and older have a 24-hour window of time to pre-register to be entered into the randomized lottery. It does not matter when you sign up within that time window—all people who pre-register will have an equal opportunity to be randomly selected for a vaccine appointment. 

FAQ: Everything you need to know about how to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment 

You can pre-register online at The website will be open for pre-registering from 5:00 a.m. Tuesday until 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday. 

When the website opened at 5 a.m. Tuesday, there were already more than 10,000 people waiting in a virtual line. By 5:30, that grew to more than 25,000 with wait times up to an hour. By 8 a.m., however, wait times were down to about 10 minutes with just a few thousand people in line. 

You can also pre-register by calling 833-431-2053. The call center will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

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 at one of the community vaccination clinics across the state. 

Appointments are required to receive a shot. People without an appointment should not visit a community vaccination clinic. No walk-ins will be accepted.