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MDH to open new vaccination clinic at Minneapolis Convention Center

The clinic, which expects to administer 9,500 shots, is for people 65 and older, educators who got an email invitation after pre-registering in lottery system.

MINNEAPOLIS — More Minnesotans will be vaccinated starting on Thursday.

That's when the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is opening its newest clinic at the Minneapolis Convention Center, but only to people with appointments.

The event organizers say the location is ideal – people are familiar with it, it's a large, open space and near public transportation. 

"Every time we open a new vaccine clinic, it has different characteristics to it," said Dan Feehan. He is the Vaccinations Program Director for Vault, a third-party organization the state hired to run some testing and vaccination sites. "We learn from doing the process and how to make it more efficient." 

Vault and MDH plan to administer a total of 9,500 doses at the Convention Center starting 8 a.m. Thursday and continue on Friday and Saturday as well.

It's only for people who are 65 and older or educators who pre-registered with the state's lottery system. They will have had to receive an email invitation and must present that when they show-up. Vault assures people they won't be standing outside during the upcoming cold snap and the email provides them a voucher for free parking. 

"It's to demonstrate and encourage that the process itself is easy as possible, as fast as possible and one that gives you encouragement and support," said Feehan. 

RELATED: Vax Facts: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Local nurses will be administering the shots and they started lining up to get their instructions on Wednesday. They will man 41 socially-distanced sites throughout the ballroom area with a goal of getting each patient through the process in a half-hour. 

This site is expected to be open three days a week for the foreseeable future so people may still get an email if they're on the waitlist. How many days the clinic actually stays open and how much vaccine is available, depends on how many doses the federal government continues to send the state.   

"We will get there, but as Dan said, it's important until you get a shot in your arm, to continue to get tested on a regular basis and not be a vector for infection," said MDH spokesperson Andrew Virden.

People will get their second dose at the Convention Center as well in about 28 days. Another clinic that will run similarly opens in Duluth on Monday. MDH is also expected to announce a third location in southern Minnesota soon.