MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Relying on the statewide lottery might not be your only option to get a vaccine anymore. Thursday at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, public health officials vaccinated Scott County residents over 65, healthcare workers, and educators.

Mary Litchfield and Becca Pehrson are dental hygienists in Scott County who just got their first dose of the vaccine. Even though they are part of the first phase of vaccinations, they were told people in hospitals should get it first.

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“That being said, we’re directly in people’s mouths,” Litchfield said.

Vaccinating the broader system of health care workers was the main purpose of the pop-up clinic in Scott County Thursday.

Noreen Kleinfehn-Wald with Scott County Public Health says 780 people signed up for their first dose, with 140 on the waiting list.

“Dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, funeral home directors, mental health providers,” Kleinfehn-Wald said.

Signing up through your county, like this, is one option to avoid the statewide wait of the lottery.

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“I don’t think that this is a best kept secret. My phone rang off the hook yesterday with people calling for information,” Kleinfehn-Wald said.

Among healthcare workers, they were able to start vaccinating some Scott County residents over 65 and Scott County teachers.

School social worker Abdullahi Khalif got his first dose just in time. He returns to working directly with students and parents on Monday when his school returns to in-person learning.

“It feels great to be honest with you. This is the beginning, I think. I see great things coming,” he said.

A date has not been set for the next popup clinic in Scott County, but it’s definitely going to be happening again in the future. If you live in another county, be sure to check with their county health page to see what opportunities you have to get vaccinated closer to home.

The next Scott County pop-up will be focused on residents 65 and older and educators. These clinics are by invite only, for healthcare workers and seniors only right now. If you get a link from the county or an employer, do not share it with others.

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Marielle Mohs