MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Vaccinations are simply not coming fast enough for many younger Minnesotans with health issues, and some of them are having more luck crossing state lines.

Pam Wallace Herbstritt of Chaska and her family know how to tackle challenges. Amber, who is 17, has quadriplegia.

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“All of her doctors have said she cannot get COVID,” Pam said.

So the past year’s been especially difficult for Amber, her mom and sister.

“It’s been a year of severe isolation, severe isolation,” Pam said.

Amber is months away from qualifying for a Minnesota vaccine, but Pam finally found a store three hours away in North Dakota.

“I was on the phone and they said, ‘Yes, we would love to vaccinate your daughter,’ and I just broke down crying,” she said.

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Amber and Pam (credit: Pam Wallace Herbstritt)

There are many similar stories on the now-widely popular Facebook group Minneapolis Vaccine Hunters. Maura Caldwell is the group’s founder.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of people in their 60s with cancer, people with kidney failure, people caring for their parents,” Caldwell said.

The people who have found success have found it in the Dakotas, but Caldwell said there are no sure bets.

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“Thrifty White Drug Stores were taking a lot of Minnesotans, but this morning that changed,” Caldwell said. “I’ve talked to many pharmacies in South Dakota in the last few days, and some of them say people from Minnesota are not able to come, and some of them say ‘yes,’ and sometimes that changes throughout the day. So even naming a place wouldn’t really help anyone right now [laughs].”

She suggests Facebook and calling specific stores. And you could finally get your shot, like Pam and Amber did.

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Iowa and Wisconsin are not vaccinating pre-existing conditions, so if you want to know which stores and towns to try in the Dakotas, Pam made a second Facebook site vulnerable Minnesotans.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield