Otter Tail County Public Health has received its initial doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and is working quickly to get it out into the community. Public Health vaccinators began to receive their vaccine just before the new year, and Jan. 4 marks the first administration clinic held by Public Health to vaccinate emergency medical responders in Phase 1a.
Vaccine administration is following the guidance of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP), and subsequent Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommendations and guidance. In working with local health care partners and select pharmacies, vaccine administration is occurring throughout all three priority groups in Phase 1a as vaccines are available and ready. The goal is to get the vaccine out as quickly as able and to not waste a dose.
For those populations identified as eligible in Phase 1a, public health is sending electronic surveys to identified points of contact to help in gathering information about the number of staff and residents eligible for vaccines. Currently those surveys also help inform the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine received at public health. From there, vaccine administration clinics are scheduled and an invitation to register is sent to those eligible. As phases progress and expand and more people are eligible for vaccine, information can be found here: ottertailcountymn.us/covid-19-vaccine/.
Who will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine? It is important to remember that there will not be enough vaccines initially for everyone. For this reason, Otter Tail County is planning for vaccination in phases, with different groups and populations able to receive the vaccine at different times until there is enough vaccine for anyone who wants it.
The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be given to people working in health care settings who could get COVID-19 at work and people who live in long-term care facilities. Other groups that may get some of the early doses include some emergency medical responders, essential workers, adults with high-risk medical conditions and older adults.
Who determines the phases of who receive the early doses of COVID-19 vaccine? MDH has brought together a COVID-19 vaccine allocation advisory group to help Otter Tail County make sure they are fairly and strategically making decisions for how vaccines should be distributed. The advisory group is made up of external partners who represent key populations in the state, such as local public health, long-term care, pharmacy partners, diverse communities and more.
Is there a waiting list? There is not a waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, people who are able to get the vaccine first will be contacted by their employers or the long-term care facility where they live.
Until COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, public heath asks that everyone, including those who have been vaccinated, to continue to practice prevention measures like wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing and avoid gathering with those outside of your household.
For more information, please go to the CDC or Minnesota Department of Health website, or call Otter Tail County Public Health at 218-998-8320. Community members can also visit us at ottertailcountymn.us.