As Wadena County Public Health finishes COVID-19 vaccinations for Phase 1A group members, preparations for the next priority groups include space at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center. The space is for two times a week, likely Tuesdays and Thursdays, for at least six months starting in February.

The vaccines are next available to adults 65 years and older, school teachers, school staff members, child care workers and frontline essential workers (Phase 1B). Public Health will work with Tri-County Health Care to schedule appointments for people over 65 years old.

Phase 1A has included hospital workers and long-term care residents and staff. Public Health has worked to vaccinate EMS personnel, COVID testers and vaccinators, health care workers such as dentists and group home workers along with staff and residents in assisted living, as director Cindy Pederson said. Hospitals and pharmacies have worked on vaccinating hospital workers and long-term care staff. Minnesota Department of Health hopes Phase 1A members will receive the vaccine by the end of January.

Public Health uses the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine includes two shots spaced 28 days apart.

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The week of Jan. 18, Public Health received 100 first doses of the vaccine. The limited supply will begin to include people 65 years and older starting this week. In Wadena County, there are 2,897 people over 65 years old, as of 2018, as Pederson noted.

“That’s what’s happening statewide is that the supply is not there for the demand, so we will just keep moving forward and get as many people done as quickly as we can,” Pederson said.

The gym space at the Maslowski means people can be waiting for 15 minutes after the shot while another person receives the shot. A nurse would be able to double or triple the number of people vaccinated in the same amount of time, as Pederson said. People are required to wait 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine for possible side effects. People with a history of anaphylaxis must wait 30 minutes.

The goal is to have space and availability for when more doses of the vaccine are distributed. The vaccine could then be administered to the priority groups within the following week rather than holding onto supplies.

“I think the message is that people need to be patient, more opportunities will come as there is more vaccine,” Pederson said.

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Since Dec. 28, Public Health has completed a few hundred vaccinations, according to Pederson. In Wadena County, 505 people have had at least one vaccine dose. Another 113 people have had both vaccine doses as of Jan. 16, according to state data.

The state has nine vaccine pilot sites open for appointments in Anoka, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Marshall, Mountain Iron, North Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud and Thief River Falls for adults 65 years and older, school teachers, school staff members and child care workers. As an educator, please wait to be notified by your employer before making an appointment. Appointments can be made online at mn.gov/covid19/vaccine or by phone at 612-426-7230 or toll free at 833-431-2053.

COVID-19 vaccine information