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Video: COVID-19 vaccination appointments open up in Minnesota as CDC eases masking guidelines

Apr 28, 2021 05:55AM ● By Editor

Watch the KSTP-TV Report here

Photo: KSTP-TV

By Callan Gray of KSTP-TV - April 27, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines Tuesday for wearing masks outdoors. According to the new recommendations, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can participate in outdoor activities without a mask. Masks should still be worn while attending a crowded outdoor event, such as a concert.  

“It’s common sense," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. "It is reflecting what a lot of folks are already doing."

Malcolm spoke alongside Gov. Tim Walz at an event in Richfield.

“I’m glad the CDC did that,” said Walz, who also urged Minnesotans to remain vigilant. “Our numbers have come down but they're still high.” 

Walz advocated for Minnesotans to get a vaccine as he toured a mobile vaccine clinic in a retrofitted Metro Transit bus, which parked outside of an apartment complex. A line of people hoping to get a dose formed outside of the bus. 

“We’re doing that next step to make it as easy as possible for literally people to walk out of their apartments, walk across the parking lot, get their vaccine and go home in 20 minutes,” said Walz.

He told reporters he expects 70% of Minnesotans will be vaccinated within weeks.

On social media, the Department of Health urged 16 and 17-year-olds to sign up for appointments at the Mall of America Community Vaccination site. 

Both MOA and Minnesota State Fairgrounds vaccination sites showed same-day appointments available on Tuesday evening. 

Vaccine appointment slots have become more available through healthcare providers as well.

“I think we've hit a point now where many Minnesotans have now been vaccinated and we're starting to need to get that remaining percentage of the population in order to finish this out,” said John Pastor, the system vice president for pharmacy and respiratory care at M Health Fairview. 

While vaccine appointments were hard to come by last week, Pastor said M Health Fairview now has 300 or more slots available on a daily basis. 

“Just this week we've seen kind of abrupt change with supply and demand here, where for the first time supply is exceeding the current demand,” he said. 

Pastor told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS supply has remained steady over the last month, however, demand has dropped.

“We know there's a lot of people out there that still aren't vaccinated that are either choosing to wait and see or just haven't signed up yet,” Pastor said. “I'd encourage anyone who is 16 and older to sign up for a vaccine, we have plenty of appointments available.”

He said some people may still be confused about who is eligible and how they can sign up for an appointment. For an appointment with M Health Fairview, click here.

M Health Fairview, Allina and HealthPartners all Tweeted Tuesday about available appointments.

Pastor advises against switching providers for their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“We’re asking people to stay with the provider of their first dose,” he said. “That's intentional because the allocation and the supplies that are shipped to us, are based on how many first doses we've given and they're expecting that all individuals receive the second dose from that same provider.”

According to Pastor, M Health Fairview has been receiving roughly 10,000 to 12,000 doses each week.

To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the KSTP-TV Eyewitness News website.

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