The rush to get a COVID-19 vaccination is understandable - but there is a well-laid out plan that includes priorities and other eligibility requirements.  As the doses of the vaccine start to make their way through the Northland, there are many people trying to get their names on the list for an appointment.  Unfortunately - due to a variety of reasons - some people have had to be turned away due to their current-ineligibility for getting a vaccine.

That's why St. Louis County Public Health has released a statement urging caution and understanding from the general public.  The message also reminds those seeking the vaccine to check their eligibility prior to scheduling an appointment - to avoid any disappointment.

Amy Westbrook, Division Director for St. Louis County Public Health explains:

"We had several unfortunate incidents this week of individuals who registered for our clinics and had to be turned away at the door.  We also have been notifying others by email that their appointment has been cancelled due to ineligibility."

Most - if not all - of the situations were purely accidental in nature:

"We have no evidence that anyone was knowingly trying to register inappropriately.  Some were in the 65-plus age category and are eligible to be vaccinated through the state or their medical provider.  We need people to be patient and remain vigilant in taking COVID precautions because we simply don't have sufficient supply to vaccinate anyone other than those in our focus groups."

There are currently five health systems administering vaccines in Minnesota:  Hospitals, pharmacies, local public health, tribal governments, and the state.  According to details released by St. Louis County, "[p]eople in Phase 1A priority groups, as well as K-12 educators and licensed daycare providers may still register to receive vaccines through St. Louis County Public Health".

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The best advice - be patient.  They also suggest that those 65-plus should contact their health care provider or watch for announcements from the state regarding when registration will reopen for the state's lottery system.

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