BLAINE, Minn. — Thousands more Minnesotans were vaccinated for COVID-19 Thursday thanks in part to the opening of nine pilot sites, where people 65 and older were selected to get their doses from an online lottery.
However, it wasn't without issues at one site, with long lines leading to longer wait times.
"I had a 5:30 appointment, its now 7:05," said Jim Hines, as he sat in a chair being prepped for his shot.
"We got here about a quarter to four and I just got out here... what time is it now... 5:30?" asked Janine Olmscheid.
The line was nearly wrapped around the building at the National Sports Complex in Blaine as hundreds of seniors waited for their shot at beating COVID-19.
"They said they got a late start and that it wasn't setup," explained Deb Cornell as she waited in line.
"We had a full slate of appointments today," said Elaine Eschenbacher, with the state's Emergency Operations Center. She went on to say, "Got behind schedule due to some process issues."
Inside the arena, dozens of people could be seen nearly standing on top of each other, raising a slew of safety concerns.
"They are not six feet apart... by a long shot," said Olmscheid.
"We would suggest that people wait until it's time for their appointment rather than coming in fifteen, twenty minutes, even an hour before their appointment, to ensure that there's proper social distancing on site," said Commissioner Anne O'Connor, with the Minnesota's Department of Commerce.
"We're hopeful that other tweaks... that we're making to our process... will make the line a lot less long," said Eschenbacher.
But for these hardy Minnesotans, the long, cold wait outweighed the uncertainties which have brought them to this point.
"I am so happy to have had my shot," said Olmscheid.
"I would've waited four hours, we got to knock this thing out and get life back to normal," said Hines.
According to state officials, more than 6,000 people were vaccinated Thursday across Minnesota's locations for the pilot program, and the site in Blaine was the only one that had any issues.