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Minnesota State Fairgrounds to host federal mass vaccination site

The announcement was first made during a briefing from the White House coronavirus task force Monday.

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — Minnesota's vaccination effort will take a significant, large-scale step forward with the announcement of a new federal mass vaccination site at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. 

The announcement was first made during a briefing Monday morning by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, then confirmed shortly afterward by the office of Gov. Tim Walz and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Beginning April 14, the site will administer a combination of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson doses, with the goal of vaccinating over 100,000 total people - 3,000 doses per day, seven days a week, for eight weeks - at the State Fair site. 

There will be no cost for vaccinations at this site, and Minnesotans will not need to provide an ID or medical insurance.

While the effort will be supported by FEMA, it will be run by the State of Minnesota like the other eight Community Vaccination sites currently operating in Oakdale, Minneapolis, Duluth, Rochester, Bloomington, Saint Paul, St. Cloud, and Mankato.

This site will be different from existing community vaccination sites as it will target underserved Minnesotans living in the zip codes near the fairgrounds with the highest scores on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.

On it's website the CDC says a number of factors play into where someone ranks on the index, including poverty, lack of access to transportation and crowded housing. Those issues may weaken a community’s ability to prevent human suffering and financial loss in a disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The governor's office said in a press release that up to 1,000 additional doses per day will be taken to community-based clinics in high social vulnerability index areas.

“We’ve been pushing for a federal vaccination site, and I’m grateful the Biden-Harris Administration delivered on my request,” said Walz in a released statement. "This site will help us protect some of the Minnesotans hardest hit by this pandemic as we continue to break down every barrier between each Minnesotan and their life-saving shot.” 

State health officials recommended the Minnesota State Fairgrounds as a mass vaccination site as the location is well known, centrally located, accessible by public transportation, and big enough to allow high volume drive-through vaccinations. The fairgrounds are also highly accessible for Minnesotans who use alternative forms of transportations. 

The doses being administered at the fairgrounds and offsite will be in addition to Minnesota’s regular allocations.

Vaccinations will be available at the State Fairgrounds by appointment only, for Minnesotans 16 years of age and older who live in the following zip codes in Ramsey and Hennepin County: 55454, 55103, 55130, 55411, 55404, 55117, 55428, 55119, 55107, 55106, 55407, 55430, 55412, 55102, 55429, 55421, 55104, 55114, 55432, 55118, 55420, 55413, 55402, 55109, 55406, 55423, 55415, 55405, 55408, 55425, 55112, 55111, 55403, 55101, 55344, 55435, 55113, 55458.

People who live in those zip codes are asked to sign up for the State Vaccine Connector to be selected for an appointment. Those who need language assistance or help signing up for the vaccine connector can call the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) COVID-19 Public Hotline1-833-431-2053. 

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