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Last updated: January 27, 2021
Who can get vaccinated and when
Currently, vaccine supplies are very limited, it will still take time before everyone can get it. We need to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone, so it will be a long process to make, distribute, and give that many doses of vaccine. Because demand is far greater than the supply right now, vaccinations are being prioritized. Olmsted County Public Health, Mayo Clinic, and Olmsted Medical Center follow the recommendations and guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provides recommendations using the established federal guidelines on which groups will get the vaccine first and we strictly follow the recommendations. MDH has established a COVID-19 vaccine allocation advisory group to help ensure the vaccine is distributed quickly and fairly across the state. The advisory group is made up of external partners who represent key populations in the state, such as local public health, long-term care, pharmacy partners, diverse communities, and more.
Goals of the COVID-19 Vaccine program include:
- Ensure safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines
- Reduce transmission, morbidity, mortality of COVID-19 disease
- Help minimize disruption to society and the economy, including maintaining health care capacity
- Ensure equity in vaccine allocation and distribution
Phase 1A 3 detailed list
- Speech-language pathologist
- Orthopedic and Rehabilitation
- Laboratory services
- Funeral director
- Emergency shelter
- Mental / behavioral health (includes substance abuse centers)
- Imaging and Radiology
- Professional medical students
- School nurses and testers
- Public Health clinical staff
- Ambulatory and outpatient
- Group homes / community residential setting
- Home health
- Adult foster care
- Sexual and reproductive clinics
Examples of who may be included in 1B
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) list for potential 1b groups.
- First responders (fire & law enforcement)
- Corrections officers
- Food and agricultural workers
- US Postal Service workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Grocery store workers
- Public transit workers
- Education sector & childcare (added to Phase 1 based on Governor’s Direction)
Minnesota Community Vaccination Pilot Program
Last week, Rochester was host to one of 9 regional vaccination sites for the State COVID-19 vaccine pilot program. The program is focused on increasing vaccination capacity across the state while preparing for the future when the state has more vaccine available. These pilot clinics served adults 65 years of age or older, along with prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff, and child care workers.
The state is trying a new approach to scheduling senior citizens for limited COVID-19 vaccinations this week — giving them a 24-hour window to sign up for a lottery rather than a first-come-first-served model. The change follows frustrations last Tuesday when users crashed a state website in pursuit of limited appointments for the vaccination.
There is only be a small number of doses available. 65+ will now have extended window of 24 hours to pre-register for the waitlist and appointments will be randomly selected from the waitlist
On-line pre-registration for 65+ individuals will be open at mn.gov/findmyvaccine from 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 26 until 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27. You may also call: 612-426-7230, or toll free, 833-431-2053
The vaccine is available by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
Note: Vaccine Distribution is being coordinated between Olmsted County Public Health, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, and local Pharmacies. How vaccines are provided to the different phases is based on vaccine allocation amounts and who receives the vaccine. Vaccine is extremely limited in Phase 1A and 1 B. Vaccine is expected to be more available in Phase 1C and early into Phase 2. Vaccine should be widely available in Phase 3 and anyone wanting to be vaccinated can be.
View the full COVID-19 Vaccinations Continue for Priority Group 1a press release.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
Why do we need a vaccine?
Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your community. A COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick and potentially prevent you from spreading the virus to others. It is important to note that a vaccine will not replace the need to continue other actions that stop the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true while we are still in the process of administering the vaccine, and this may take many months. The vaccine is not mandatory, yet highly encouraged by healthcare experts.
How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
The federal government covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine; it will be provided to people at no cost. Providers will be able to charge an administration fee. This can be reimbursed through the patient’s insurance or the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. So, people getting the vaccine may be asked for insurance information.
Aren't masking, social distancing, and self-quarantining reasonable alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination?
Given the extent of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., masking, social distancing and self-quarantining will not be enough to contain the pandemic. Developing large-scale immunity in the community through vaccination is key to stopping the pandemic.
Everyone will need to continue to take precautions, such as masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped. Until then, COVID-19 spread can continue in the community from people who have or don't have symptoms.
A person can be contagious for as many as 14 days without symptoms. A person can develop symptoms but be contagious before symptoms start. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others, beginning two days before symptoms develop and up to 10 days after becoming sick.
When will I be able to get vaccinated?
In Minnesota, first priority has been given to front-line health care workers in COVID-19 hospital units, emergency departments and nursing homes along with paramedics, COVID-19 testing personnel and some public health workers. Residents in nursing homes are also in the highest priority group.
The plan to administer vaccines in Minnesota has been divided into several phases:
Phase 1a: Frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. This phase is currently underway and includes an estimated 500,000 people.
Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers and adults 75 years and older. Vaccinations for this group could start in late January or early February, health officials say. This phase will include a little more than a million people, according to health officials.
Phase 1c: Adults between the ages of 65 and 74, people aged 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. Health officials have not yet estimated the number of people in this phase.
Phase 2: When larger numbers of doses are available, any remaining Phase 1 recipients will be vaccinated, plus adults in communities that have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19.
Phase 3: As the vaccine becomes widely available, anyone who wishes to be vaccinated will be able to do so.
How will I know when it's my turn to be vaccinated?
In Phase 1a of the vaccine rollout, front-line health care workers and nursing home residents will be contacted by their employer or their residential facility when a vaccine is available to them, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Though the state has not yet moved to Phase 1b of the vaccination rollout, on Jan. 21, vaccinations will be available on a limited basis to Minnesotans age 65 and older, educators and child care workers, by appointment only at nine pilot sites around the state. Because demand outpaces federal supply, not everyone who is eligible will be able to receive a vaccine right away. Eligible people can make an appointment on the state website or by calling 612-426-7230 or toll free, 833-431-2053. If you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine but all of the appointments are booked, you will be given the opportunity to join a waitlist.
Are you 65 years and older?
Minnesota Department of Health State Vaccination Pilot Program
On January 18, the State of Minnesota announced that Rochester is among nine locations in Minnesota to pilot a small amount of COVID-19 vaccine through community settings. The State of Minnesota is leading this pilot.
There is only be a small number of doses available. 65+ will have a 24-hour window to pre-register for the waitlist and appointments will be randomly selected from this list. The on-line waitlist is open from 5:00 am Tuesday, January 26 until 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27.
- On-line: mn.gov/findmyvaccine
- Phone: 612-426-7230, or toll free, 833-431-2053
Unfortunately, the demand for the vaccine continues to far outweigh the current supply and not all who are currently eligible will be able to get vaccinated until more supply becomes available.
When could vaccines become widely available?
The FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine Dec. 11 and the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 18. States were required to place orders for the initial round of vaccine doses by Dec. 4.
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Minnesota at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center on Dec. 14. Vaccines are being shipped to 25 "hub" medical facilities around the state. From there, they are being distributed to smaller clinics, or "spokes," that will make doses available to providers. The federal government decides how many doses each state will receive weekly. Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm cautioned that it could be six months before vaccines become widely available.
As of Jan. 25, Minnesota health care providers and local public health agencies were allocated 379,275 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 303,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). All 682,675 doses have been distributed to providers, according to MDH.
By Jan. 25, providers had administered 335,477 doses of the vaccine (226,562 Pfizer, 108,750 Moderna), though this number does not include vaccine doses administered by federal agencies within the state of Minnesota, including the Veterans Health Administration, Indian Health Service or Defense Department. Therefore, the actual number of Minnesotans who have received the first dose of the vaccine is higher.
Olmsted County Vaccination Distribution for patients
Olmsted County has a very large number of health care staff (hospital and non-hospital, clinics, and long-term care) compared to other counties in our area. That means other counties may be able to offer the vaccine to expanded groups faster than Olmsted County. Rest assured, Olmsted County and our health care partners understand the community’s need and desire for the COVID-19 vaccine, and we are working as fast as we can to get as many people immunized as possible based on the prioritization schedule and the vaccine supply at hand. Vaccinations for Phase 1a-3 began on January 25. It may take several weeks to vaccinate this phase unless vaccine allocations increase considerably.
Please do not call your primary care provider or Olmsted County Public Health.
For Mayo Clinic patients:
- Patients with an assigned primary care provider at Mayo Clinic or Mayo Clinic Health System will receive an invitation to be vaccinated through Patient Online Services. Patients who do not have a Patient Online Services account will receive a letter.
For OMC patients:
- Olmsted Medical Center is actively monitoring the latest CDC and MDH guidelines for vaccine distribution to make sure patients are treated efficiently and safely. We are finalizing plans to vaccinate our patients and committed to providing the COVID-19 vaccination to our patients. OMC does not know when we will get additional vaccines or the amount of the vaccine that will be available to us. As more information becomes available, we will provide updates.
- We ask that patients and caregivers only call OMC’s COVID triage line if you have COVID-19 symptoms or need medical advice related to COVID-19.
Non-hospital health care businesses: When can my staff get vaccinated?
Businesses in Olmsted County are asked to complete a form for COVID-19 vaccine planning purposes. This will help us identify the appropriate priority group for each business. Businesses will be contacted directly using the information provided once we are able to administer the vaccine to various priority groups.
Why are some states able to vaccinate more groups than Minnesota?
Each state and jurisdiction is allowed to make local decisions regarding vaccine distribution, using the broad guidelines provided by the federal government. This makes it confusing and difficult. Minnesota may be rolling out the vaccine slightly differently than our neighboring states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, and very differently than Florida or California.
Who will be able to get vaccinated?
There is a limited supply of vaccine at first and priority groups have been established by the federal government. Front line healthcare workers along with staff and residents in long term care facilities will receive the vaccine first. At this time, only Phase 1 priority groups (there are three in Minnesota) have been determined. For our community, this group is quite large. Completion of this group will be dependent on vaccine allocation and could take many weeks to complete.
Vaccinations for the Long-term care facilities are being managed mostly through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program (PPP) with only a few state-level vaccinators. Assigning the assisted living facility with a local vaccinator is occurring at the state level and will reach out to local public health if further assistance is needed.
As the supply increases, other essential workers and people age 65 and older will also be in the first groups to receive the vaccine. Later, as more becomes available, groups at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and the general public will be recommended to get the vaccine.
Can I get on a list for the vaccine?
At this time, we are only collecting information from organizations that fall into the phase 1a, priority 3 category to help us plan for vaccinations to this group (see the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning for Businesses tab).
In later phases, the vaccine will be available at settings like your pharmacy or primary care provider and people will be able to make an appointment to get it. More information about Minnesota’s vaccination plan
Where can I find the latest information regarding vaccine distribution?
The Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine webpage has a wealth of information, including the number of vaccines distributed to providers and the total number of vaccines given. Vaccination numbers for Olmsted County can also be found on our COVID-19 Response dashboard
Safety and Effectiveness
Is the vaccine safe and effective?
Vaccine approval is driven by science. The FDA, CDC, and independent advisors all review vaccine safety and effectiveness data before any vaccine is approved or allowed for distribution. COVID-19 vaccines go through all of the usual steps and phases that all vaccines go through to get full approval. Early-phase studies of the vaccines show that they are safe.
While there are many COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development, and currently two that have received emergency use authorization from the FDA – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. To receive emergency use authorization, the biopharmaceutical manufacturer must have followed at least half of the study participants for at least two months after completing the vaccination series, and the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population. In addition to the safety review by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has convened a panel of vaccine safety experts to independently evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial. Mayo Clinic vaccine experts also will review available data. The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is being closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You can visit the CDC's website for more information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?
Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended for children:
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is for ages sixteen and above
- Moderna vaccine is for ages eighteen and above.
Clinical trials are ongoing to identify a safe vaccine for children.
How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses roughly 2-3 weeks apart. You will be contacted to schedule an appointment to receive your second dose.
*One vaccine is being developed by Johnson and Johnson that would require only one dose if approved.
Is one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine effective?
One dose of vaccine has not been fully tested. Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide over 90% protection. When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to you, and after you receive your first dose, you should schedule the second dose appointment before leaving your doctor’s office. The FDA dismissed the idea of using half doses or making changes to the FDA-authorized dosing or schedules.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
About 15% of people develop symptoms, primarily headache, chills, fatigue, or muscle pain, or fever. These transient reactions, which indicate a person's immune system is responding to the vaccine, resolved without complication or injury.
Will I have a choice of which vaccine I get?
At this time, patients cannot choose which vaccine to receive. Given initial limited supplies, we will distribute available vaccines to the highest risk groups based on guidance from the CDC and MDH.
How long will a COVID-19 vaccination offer protection?
It is not yet known how long COVID-19 vaccination will offer protection. Periodic boosters, such as with the annual flu shot, may or may not be needed.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I got the flu vaccine?
Yes. We recommend all staff get the flu vaccine and when it becomes available the COVID-19 vaccine.
What to expect after vaccination
Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received two doses of the vaccine?
Yes. It may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one. Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others after vaccination.
Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works and the level of protection that it provides under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a face mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.
Can those who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes. We recommend getting vaccinated for COVID-19, even for those who have had COVID-19 previously. People should wait until they are no longer infectious to get vaccinated.
Will persons who get the vaccine still have to wear face masks?
Yes. While the vaccine is highly effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease, it is not 100% effective, and it is not yet known how well it prevents asymptomatic infection, or how long its effects will last. Everyone will need to continue taking precautions like masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.
Vaccine Update: January 25, 2021
13.4% of the population in Olmsted County have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Olmsted County ranks second in the state for percentage vaccinated; this is due in part to our large healthcare workforce.
Priority groups are set by the Federal government. Each state has set priorities about who gets the vaccine first, based on these recommendations. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has provided additional guidelines and details for which groups will get the vaccine first. MDH has established a COVID-19 vaccine allocation advisory group to help ensure the vaccine is distributed quickly and fairly across the state. The advisory group is made up of external partners who represent key populations in the state, such as local public health, long-term care, pharmacy partners, diverse communities, and more.
Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center and Olmsted County Public Health began vaccinating Phase 1A—priority one on December 18, 2020. At this time, only Phase 1A priority groups have been fully determined. Vaccinating all three groups in Phase 1A, could take 2-3 months depending on how quickly vaccines will be available, allocated and shipped. Weekly vaccine shipments are expected; however they continue to be very limited and unpredictable at this time.
State Vaccination Pilot Program
Last week, Rochester was host to one of 9 regional vaccination sites for the State COVID-19 vaccine pilot program. The program is focused on increasing vaccination capacity across the state while preparing for the future when the state has more vaccine available. These pilot clinics served adults 65 years of age or older, along with prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff, and child care workers. From January 21 through January 23, these sites administered 13,369 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In all, 1,576 child care workers, 4,420 educators and 7,373 adults 65+ were vaccinated over the three days.
There is only be a small number of doses available. 65+ will now have extended window of 24 hours to pre-register for the waitlist and appointments will be randomly selected from the waitlist.
65+ pre-registration window for waitlist will open at mn.gov/findmyvaccine from 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 26 until 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27. The vaccine is available by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
Phone: 612-426-7230, or toll free, 833-431-2053 | Online registration: mn.gov/covid19/vaccine
When can I get vaccinated?
At this time, the state vaccination pilot program is the only place the public can make an appointment for a vaccine.
There’s no “list” for Olmsted County residents. Vaccinations are limited and the current priority groups are our front line healthcare workers and residents living in long term care facilities. Vaccinations are based on employment and place of residence; these individuals are contacted by their employer or the facility where they live. For our community, this group is very large and completion of this group could take longer than other communities.
Until vaccine supplies increase, we ask for your patience, understanding and cooperation.
Please do not call your primary care provider or local public health department.
Tips for getting ready for COVID vaccination
1. Make sure you sign up for your healthcare providers portal and that the notifications are turned on. This is likely how you will be contacted when you are eligible.
2. Make sure that the email used for the portal, is the current one you use. Notifications are sent to the email connected to the portal.
3. Know the big three websites: that of your health care provider, your county public health department, and the Minnesota Department of Health Find My Vaccine page.
COVID-19 Vaccination Planning for Businesses
This form is intended for Olmsted County businesses (added 1/7/21)
Olmsted County continues to provide vaccinations to those identified in priority groups as established by the MN Department of Health. Vaccines are not provided on a first come first serve basis. Filling out this form helps us identify what priority group your agency falls under and who to contact once we are ready to administer the vaccination for the priority group you fall in. Moving from one phase to another will depend on vaccine supply and how many people are getting vaccinated, so it is hard to estimate when one phase will end, and another will begin.
We will inform you of pending vaccine availability for your priority group, as soon as we are able to anticipate it.
More information can be found at www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine.
Please complete the form below if you are an Olmsted County business.