MINNEAPOLIS — By now most Minnesotans have heard the news, anyone 16 or older is officially eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Tuesday, March 30th.
However, with this good news comes the daunting task of trying to find an appointment.
"Where are appointments available, who can book them there, how do you book them there, when do you book them there," explained Maura Caldwell.
Caldwell is the founder of the Facebook group Minneapolis Vaccine Hunters. A group which started with a few nurse friends, and has now expanded to over 40,000 people with one mission.
"Compiling accurate information so that people are able to see real time where they’re able to find appointments," said Caldwell. She went on to say, "what we do as moderators is verify information and make sure that its accurate and keep the group sort of on track.”
A process which Caldwell says has helped place shots in the arms of thousands across the state.
"Everybody in that group has either booked an appointment for themselves or for somebody else, and some of the people in the group have booked for hundreds of people at this point," said Caldwell.
If joining a Facebook group isn’t your thing, leaders with the Minnesota Department of Health advise you contact your health care provider or local pharmacy. You can also sign up for an appointment through the state's Vaccine Connector.
"What your viewers need to know is that they can and should now go to the Vaccine Connector, if they haven’t already, to sign up for alerts when they are eligible for vaccine and to get connected to resources to schedule an appointment. Get on the list. Contact your health care provider. Check your local pharmacy or local public health agency, to see who is vaccinating near you. If you’re not in a higher risk group, you may not be able to get a vaccine right away Tuesday or even the next week or week after, but you can now enter the queue. And if a vaccinator has an opening, they may be able to call you." -Doug Schultz, Information Officer, Minnesota Department of Health.
As millions will now be eligible for a vaccine, health officials say it’s important to note there’s a difference between being eligible and your place in line, as those deemed high risk will still be priority.
"Being eligible on Tuesday doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be getting your vaccine in these next few days but we’re all in line," said State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
A line that will soon enough be well worth the wait.
"I think within a month, anyone who’s looking will have had an appointment or have the knowledge to book one for themselves," said Caldwell.