UDPATE: Scott County Public Health officials announced Thursday that due to availability, they are no longer giving second vaccine doses to people who received their first shot outside of the county.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minnesotans are running into a logistical hurdle to get vaccinated.READ MORE: MDH Urges Vigilance As COVID Variants Drive Spike In Cases
Right now, more than 1,000,000 Minnesotans have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But for those who got their first shot in a different state, getting the second will be tricky.
Maura Caldwell runs a Facebook group called Minneapolis Vaccine Hunters. She knows of people who got their first shot in a different state, then had to move to Minnesota for their job before getting their scheduled second dose.
Other cases include people who drove to North Dakota last month because they were eligible there, but not in Minnesota.
“And then hoping and realizing that by the time their second dose came around they were eligible in Minnesota and hoping then to save themselves a 10-hour road trip and get it down the block,” Caldwell said.
The issue is that second dose they’re looking for at a Minnesota clinic or healthcare provider is usually reserved for a patient who got their first dose there, according to Dr. Abe Jacob, chief quality officer at M Health Fairview.READ MORE: Rise Of COVID Cases In Ely Linked To Youth Sports, Social Gatherings
“They potentially could take someone else’s second dose that was allocated for them, so this creates lots of operational issues for us,” Jacob said. “There’s also a risk, and a real risk, a safety risk that they may have gotten Moderna dose for their first dose, and then they come to us for their second dose and all we have is Pfizer.”
Minnesota Department of Health guidelines advise people get their second dose at the same location, and specifically the same vaccine, be it Moderna or Pfizer. But for those who simply cannot make it happen, Caldwell has found other resources.
“Scott County has a second dose vaccination clinic, and it doesn’t matter where you got your first dose, they are welcoming people who need a second dose of Moderna,” she said.
Through her Facebook group, she’s also heard of people having success finding second doses through pharmacy chains like CVS.
“I won’t speak on behalf of that chain or others, but we have seen people get [registered] and say that’s worked out for them,” she said.
Despite her mission to help people find doses regardless of circumstance, she and Dr. Jacob feel sticking to MDH’s guidelines is the best option.MORE NEWS: Vaccine Eligibility Expansion Announcement Expected This Week
“I hope by the time we get to May and June that it doesn’t matter where you get your second dose, we just have enough vaccine that this is not an issue,” Jacob said. “But really for now, and until vaccination opens up for everyone and there’s enough vaccine supply, get your second dose wherever you got your first dose.”