ST PAUL, Minn. — No appointments are needed for a COVID-19 vaccine at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, at least through Tuesday.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health website, walk-ups are welcome at the site through May 4.
The state fairgrounds community vaccination site is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. No insurance or vaccine is required. Anyone who wants a vaccine just has to confirm their first name, last name, date of birth and home address.
The mass vaccination site set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) opened on April 13 in a fairgrounds parking lot. It was set up to provide 2,000 Pfizer shots every day, plus 1,000 more per day through mobile vaccination units.
The vaccines at this site are normally by appointment only, and solely available to people living in specific underserved zip codes.
The site has been open for three weeks and is expected to remain there for eight weeks total, with a goal of vaccinating more than 100,000 people. The federal government is funding the entire effort.
“It warms my heart,” said Jacob Beauregard, who works at the site as the logistics and mutual aid coordinator with the state’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Just to be able to see their faces, see the joy, the relief on their faces, it’s a great feeling.”
Brynn McDonald, for example, walked out of the State Fairgrounds on Monday with a big smile on her face.
She got her Pfizer shot – helping her reach full vaccination as she prepares to head west to Grand Canyon University for her freshman year this fall.
“It feels really good,” she said. “I’m glad it’s over, and I can get on in the world… everything back on campus is going back to normal, so it’ll be really nice to have it and not worry about it.”
Hassan Mohamed feels that same relief.
“It was pretty nice,” he said after receiving his own shot on Monday. “It means getting back to school… back to our normal lives, doing our jobs, back to not wearing this [mask] anymore.”
While right now the state fairgrounds may look like a hospital, hope is growing that Minnesotans will have a real, in-person celebration to look forward to in August. Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer has said "planning is proceeding" for the 2021 fair, and Gov. Tim Walz commented last week "that should be a pretty close to normal event."