MINNESOTA - Governor Tim Walz announced Friday that all Minnesotans 16 years of age and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination beginning Tuesday, March 30. The final eligibility expansion comes as the federal government has promised an increased supply of vaccine by April.
While the governor was making that announcement, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan was touring the vaccination site in Worthington, meeting with some of the people who helped get the word out about the two-day vaccination clinic, especially to those in the BIPOC community.
“These are doses of hope,” Flanagan said, looking around the site. Eight different vaccinations stations were set up, along with a waiting area for people to wait 15 minutes after the shot to check for allergic reaction.
“This is just heartwarming,” Flanagan said.
According to Minnesota Regional Sight Incident Commander Shawn Schloesser, there were 500 doses available at the Worthington site Friday, and another 500 Saturday, all of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine. On Friday morning there were 240 signed up for the shot, so the door was opened to walk-ins. Almost 60 people had taken advantage of the walk-in opportunity by noon, when the site had been open for an hour.
Flanagan said whenever she visits a vaccination site it is emotional for her and found the results in Worthington powerful.
“There were 58 people so far today who were vaccinated as walk-ins, which means community members and telling other community members about the opportunity,” she stated.
What Flanagan found incredible was the options for translation at the Worthington site. There were stations set up for multiple languages, giving people a chance to ask questions and have conversations in their own language.
Jessica Velasco was one of many people who helped spread the word of the vaccine clinic, getting the message out to the BIPOC community.
“We did a lot of door knocking,” Velasco said. “Then people started making phone calls and answering questions as soon as possible.”