MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Tuesday, the state says all Minnesotans age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Actually getting one could be a different story.
Health officials recommend signing up for the state’s Vaccine Connector to get information on vaccine appointments but there are also other ways to get a vaccine.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 16 Deaths, 1,715 New Cases; Nearly 50% Of Eligible Minnesotans Have Received 1st Vaccine Dose
“I’ve been stalking all the pharmacy sites,” Kirsten Montgomery, of Deerwood, said.
Montgomery was glued to her computer Monday to see if any pharmacies would update COVID-19 vaccine edibility for any appointments after March 30.
Gov. Tim Walz announced last week that all Minnesotans above age 16 would be eligible to receive a dose as of March 30, though it was not a guarantee they would be able to get one right away.
Montgomery was able to schedule an appointment for Friday for her daughter at a local pharmacy.
“I really believe I got lucky because within 10 minutes all the appointments were booked for Friday and Saturday,” she said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, it was a mix of whether or not pharmacies and health care providers were planning to expand eligibility after March 30, similar with the last phase expansion.
A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Health said it was up to each individual provider when they would update or expand eligibility.
“We expect we’ll see some of them do it right away but we might see some of them phase it in,” Minneapolis Vaccine Hunters [Helping All of MN] volunteer Winnie Williams said.READ MORE: WI Supreme Court: Gov. Evers Can't Limit Business Capacity
Minneapolis Vaccine Hunters, a Facebook page dedicated to helping eligible Minnesotans book COVID-19 vaccine appointments, recommends having a photo of your insurance card, front and back, saved on your computer to be ready to confirm appointments. Check to see if a pharmacy requires you to have an account so you’re ready to go ahead of time.
You could also try a time zone trick.
“For Walmart, they typically open appointments at midnight,” Williams said. “But we’re able to see the appointments at 11 p.m. Central Time by advancing to Eastern Time Zone.”
When you see open appointments, you can try choosing an off time or the later dates.
“Because it is the case at some of the sites, if you’re slow at doing it, by the time you do it the appointment is booked,” Williams said.
Williams recommends people make sure they have an updated account with their health care provider. Check if you can sign up online when you’re eligible or they may reach out to you.
You can also check with your local county to see if they are doing any vaccine events for residents.
Many vaccine hunters have used the website vaccinespotter.org to try to see any available appointments throughout Minnesota at one time.MORE NEWS: Executive Council Extends Gov. Walz's Emergency Powers
The Minnesota Department of Health has asked health care providers to still prioritize people who are at higher risk for appointments.
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