SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Wednesday morning the registration for Minnesota's COVID-19 vaccine lottery closed at 5 a.m., and now those who were able to register are waiting for a text or call from the state.
Calls, texts and emails will start rolling out to thousands of Minnesotans over 65 at 7 a.m., alerting them they are eligible for an appointment at one of the state's nine vaccine centers. These centers are located in Brooklyn Center, Blaine, St. Cloud, Rochester, North Mankato, Marshall, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls and Fergus Falls.
“Both Blaine and Brooklyn Center will be 65-plus,” Anne O’Connor, deputy commissioner, Minnesota Dept. of Commerce said. “The other seven sites are split equally between the educators and childcare workers, and 65-plus.”
The state also announced a pop-up vaccination site at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, dedicated to K-12 teachers and childcare workers.
Those who weren't able to get an appointment this time around have been put on a waitlist and will not need to re-register the next time the lottery is offered.
"We're not deleting the waiting list. Once you're signed up on the waiting list, you're always going to be eligible for that random process," said Tarek Tomes, Commissioner of Minnesota Information Technology, or MNIT.
Minnesota health officials acknowledge that the lottery system isn't ideal for everyone, but they're using this pilot program as a learning experience.
"Throughout the vaccine registration pilot, Minnesota will continually evaluate where we can make reasonable changes to create an even smoother experience for the future," said Tomes.