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Olmsted County, Mayo officials deal with lack of vaccine supply

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) — Despite new ways to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, actually getting a shot in your arm remains a struggle.

While progress for vaccine rollout has been slow progress is being made.

Olmsted County Public Health Director Graham Briggs

Olmsted County Public Health Director Graham Briggs said 38,000 county residents have gotten a first dose.

“22,000 have received both doses that is about 14.3% of the population that’s fully vaccinated,” Briggs said.

However, the bad weather across much of the rest of the nation has now lead to shipping delays and no new vaccine doses arriving.

Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abinash Virk

Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abinash Virk said it’s unclear when the next shipment will arrive.

“We will continue vaccinating people based on what we have available right now,” Virk said. “Starting Monday, we will only be doing second doses because we just don’t have enough vaccines.”

Even before the weather problems, vaccine availability was not meeting demand.

“The challenge we’ve got is just not having enough doses available every week for us to get people that need vaccine and are interested in getting it,” Briggs said.

Despite the low supply, ways to sign up for vaccine appointments are ample.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Vaccine Connector Tool launched Thursday. It can be found on the MDH website and anyone can sign up whether you’re eligible right now or not. The site will notify you when you eventually become eligible.

“Minnesota COVID-19 vaccine connector this is a new way for patients to access vaccines for them to register and then get a message from the Minnesota COVID-19 vaccine connector that they are now eligible,” Virk said.

But, both Briggs and Virk encourage people to sign up at as many places as you can to receive the vaccine whether the supply is available or not.

“I think I’d encourage the public to take any avenue they can to get vaccine,” Briggs said.

Ubah Ali

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