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Brown County receives increased number of vaccine doses

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The Brown County Public Health office, above, received more COVID-19 vaccines this week than ever before, and is encouraging those 65 and older to sign up for vaccinations.

BROWN COUNTY — This week Brown County received more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than ever before.

Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz said the county received 1,475 doses of the vaccine this week. This is a significant increase. Moritz said last week, less than a thousand doses were distributed to the county.

“We’re making progress,” Moritz said. Last week Hy-Vee in New Ulm and Thrifty White in Springfield received does of the vaccine, joining Public Health, New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) and Sleepy Eye Medical Center (SEMC) in delivering the vaccine to the public.

As of Feb. 27, more than 8% of Brown County residents have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and over 18% have received the first dose.

Moritz said nearly half of all Brown County residents 65 and older have received the vaccine.

Governor Tim Walz’s vaccination plan places vaccine priority on people 65 years and older, teachers, long-term care residents and health care personnel.

The next phase of vaccinations will focus on those with high-risk health conditions, essential workers and food processing plant workers.

“I feel good with where we are at,” Moritz said.

She is optimistic that vaccine doses could increase in the upcoming weeks with the recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has yet to be distributed in Minnesota, but it is expected to increase the supply of the vaccine.

Moritz said there is still not enough vaccine to meet the demand. She asked residents to be patient and continue to follow COVID regulations to keep schools and businesses open.

Public health is developing a waiting list for people 65 and older. To be placed on the waiting list complete the online survey at https://forms.gle/ttqcu2wJdLvmRLUn6.

Completion of the survey is not registration or an appointment, but an opportunity to be on a waitlist. Public Health will use the waitlist to contact individuals by random selection when the vaccine is available.

For those that do not have any way to complete the online survey, Brown County Public Health will have volunteers that can assist them with that from 9 am – 1 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week. The number to call for assistance is 507-233-6820.

Pharmacies in the area are part of the federal vaccination program in Minnesota. The pharmacies that are included in vaccinating through that program in Minnesota are Wal Mart, Thrifty White, and Hy-Vee. The pharmacy programs are accessed online to make an appointment.

Wal Mart: https://www.walmart.com/cp/1228302

Thrifty White: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine

Hy-Vee: https://www.hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/covid-vaccine-consent

The pharmacies are currently only administering the vaccine to Minnesotans 65 or older. Those who qualify may sign-up online for the waiting list to reserve an appointment.

Patients are asked not to call the pharmacy as employees do not have access to schedule appointments.

SEMC is using a random system to select eligible patients to receive the vaccine. The supply is limited to patients 65 years and older. SEMC will notify patients when eligible for the vaccine.

NUMC will contact eligible patients by email or phone when able to schedule an appointment. Patients will not be able to schedule a vaccine until they have been contacted by NUMC.

All Minnesotans can now sign up to get connected to a COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccine Connector is an online tool to find out when, where, and how to get your vaccine. It’s safe, secure, and free. Sign up at https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/connector/ or call 833-431-2053.

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