WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The state of Minnesota continues its push to find more locations and more opportunities for residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz announced that Hy-Vee has been added to the state pharmacy vaccine network, joining Thrifty White and Walmart in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that launched earlier this month.
Hy-Vee expects to administer more than 10,000 doses of the vaccine this week to adults 65 years of age and older, at more than 30 Hy-Vee sites across the state.
Following the announcement KARE 11 heard from a number of educators who contacted Hy-Vee and made vaccination appointments, only to be turned away or have their vaccinations canceled when the locations learned they were not age 65 or older.
On Tuesday a Hy-Vee spokesperson clarified the misunderstanding.
"The Minnesota Department of Health did let us know yesterday that while educators and child care staff are eligible under overall state guidance, they are not eligible under the retail pharmacy program which is where our Minnesota vaccine allocations (as well as some other Minnesota pharmacy allocations) are through," said Hy-Vee spokesperson Christina Gayman in a written statement. "MDH assured us that educators, school staff, and child care workers will hear from their local public health agency, employer, state-sponsored community vaccination site, or state vaccination partner about when and where they can get vaccinated."
The Walz administration says appointments at Hy-Vee will become available in the next week, and the best way to get locations and contact information for scheduling is to sign up for the state's new Vaccine Connector, or by checking the Vaccine locator map.
Walz and state health officials have long said the goal of Minnesota's vaccine effort is to meet residents "where they are," removing barriers of transportation and logistics.