ST PAUL, Minn. — The state is taking the wraps off a new tool that will help all Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Governor Tim Walz calls the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector the next step in the state's strategy "to meet Minnesotans where they are and connect them to vaccine opportunities, no matter where they live or their personal circumstances."
All Minnesotans who have not yet received their vaccine are urged to sign up, either via the state's COVID-19 response web page, or by calling 833-431-2053 for those without computer access or those who need assistance. There is no cost, and no restricted time period for registering.
“We still have a frustratingly limited vaccine supply from the federal government, but every Minnesotan should know their chance to get a vaccine will come. Today, we are connecting them directly to that process,” said Governor Walz in a released statement. “We need to make it as easy as possible for every Minnesotan to get the vaccine when it’s their turn – no matter where they live and no matter their personal circumstances. The options we’re providing will help make that happen.”
Those signing up will be asked to provide contact information, demographic data, medical history, and employment to determine their eligibility for vaccinations. The online form includes questions about gender identity, sexual orientation, race, cultural identification, and disabilities to help health officials track and measure the equity and fairness of the vaccine distribution process. These questions have the option of selecting “prefer not to answer” or “none of the above,” and opting to not answer will not prevent a person from signing up.
Anyone who registers will be alerted by the Vaccine Connector when they become eligible to be vaccinated under state guidelines. It will then help with connecting them to resources to schedule an appointment, or notify that person if there are other vaccination opportunities in their area.
Actual appointments will be made through a registered provider.
“The Vaccine Connector will play a vital role moving forward to help us connect each and every Minnesotan to a vaccine once they’re eligible,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We are working hard to make sure folks in every community in Minnesota feel connected to our vaccine network and know how to get a vaccine safely and confidently once supply increases.”
In the current phase of its vaccination strategy Minnesota is providing doses for health care workers, long-term care residents, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, child care workers and people age 65 and over. State leaders are urging all Minnesotans who have not been vaccinated to sign up for the Vaccine Connector. Residents will also continue to hear about vaccination opportunities in other ways:
- Health care personnel will hear from their employer about when and where they can get vaccinated
- Long-term care residents will hear from their facility about when and where they can get vaccinated
- Adults 65+ who already registered through either the COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program or the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program do not need to re-submit information. When adults 65+ sign up for the Vaccine Connector, they will immediately be entered into the random selection process for the state’s Community Vaccination Program sites operating in Minneapolis, Duluth, and Rochester. If they are selected to receive their vaccine at one of these sites, they will be notified by text, email, or landline by the company that runs those sites, Vault Health.
- The state is continuing to partner with hundreds of local medical providers and pharmacies to provide shots to Minnesotans age 65 and older. Adults 65+ can use the Vaccine Locator map to find nearby vaccine distribution sites and make an appointment to receive a vaccine through the providers listed there. They can also contact their regular provider directly.
- Educators and child care providers who already completed the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine – Education and Child Care survey do not need to complete the Vaccine Connector form, or re-submit their information. Educators, school staff, and child care workers will continue to 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.