COVID-19 Vaccine Information

In early 2021, a new critical phase in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic begins, which will require sustained use all prevention tools including wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, staying home when sick, and washing hands. The addition of vaccines to this prevention tools is an important and hopeful development but will take time to deploy and will still require sustaining the other preventive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This page will share:

  • Information on Minnesota’s plans to roll out vaccines to people experiencing homelessness and the staff who support them
  • Resources to learn more about the vaccine and help people make an informed choice about getting vaccinated

Vaccine Information Resource Toolkit

Vaccine education and sharing accurate information that addresses questions and concerns is one of the most important things we can be doing to prepare for the vaccine roll-out. This resource toolkit was designed to organize already created resources into topic areas and make them easy to access to share with the people you work with. Click on the topic below to access resources. Each is organized with high level overview information and deeper dive section to learn more. Some resources touch multiple topics, so you may find the same resource in multiple buckets.

Vaccine Overview and What to Expect

Vaccine Development and Safety

Culturally Specific Resources

Preparing your Site

Data

Looking for a speaker? MDH has a process to request a speaker to attend an in-person or virtual event about COVID. You can email Health.COVIDspeakerrequests@state.mn.us or fill out this survey, https://survey.vovici.com/se/56206EE34B0D1CAE, to request a speaker.

Can’t find an answer to your question? If you still have a question after reviewing these resources, email elizabeth.dressel@state.mn.us and we will work to get an answer to your question.

We are continuing to add resources and welcome your additions. If you have a resource to add, please email Elizabeth Dressel.

Minnesota Vaccine Plans

Until there is enough vaccine for everyone, Minnesota is focused on immunizing for impact. Minnesota is distributing vaccines in stages to allow those who are most vulnerable to have the opportunity to be vaccinated first. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released guidance for allocating and prioritizing COVID-19 vaccine. The updated guidance for Phase 1a clarifies settings and populations included the current vaccine efforts in Phase 1a. The guidance specifically identifies congregate settings on the homeless service continuum, domestic violence settings, people who are unsheltered and homeless service providers in phase 1a – third priority. MDH also shared guidance for Phase 1b, 1c and Phase 2 that details which populations and essential works are included within each phase.

As more vaccine becomes available, the Governor and MDH continue to move through the MDH guidance of Phase 1b and 1c. Visit the COVID-19 Vaccine page to stay up to date on who is currently eligible to receive vaccine. This site also has data about vaccines that have been distributed.

Updated Information on Where to Get Vaccinated

If you are currently unsheltered or live or work in a congregate living settings on the homeless service continuum (which includes emergency homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, transitional housing, board & lodges, sober homes, DOC-licensed halfway houses, and supportive housing) or work as a homeless service provider you are eligible for a vaccine. New pathways to be vaccinated continue to become available all the time and we want to make sure you are aware of the variety of ways eligible people can access vaccines.  Current options include:

  1. Your Health Care Provider
    • If your health care provider or clinic is currently offering vaccine, you can try calling to make an appointment.
    • State of Minnesota Vaccine Locator Map can help you find local vaccine providers. To schedule an appointment, you will need visit the provider’s website or call them directly.
  2. Your Local Pharmacy
    • Thrifty White, Walmart, Sam’s Club, HyVee, Walgreens, CVS, and other pharmacies are offering vaccines. To look for available appointments you would visit each company’s vaccine webpage and complete the scheduling forms. Vaccine appointments are filling up fast right now, so there are not always available appointments, though some have notification or wait lists.  
    • State of Minnesota Vaccine Locator Map can help you find local vaccine providers. To schedule an appointment, you will need visit the provider’s website or call them directly.
    • You might also be able to find an appointment by visiting vaccine appointment “aggregator” website like https://vaccinespotter.org, which helps locate available appointments across a number of pharmacies in your area. Please be advised that this site and others like it are not run or operated by the State of Minnesota, so we cannot provide any assurances or technical assistance about it.
  3. State-Run Vaccine Clinics
    • New! The Minnesota Community Vaccination Program is providing free COVID-19 vaccines at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds for people who live in targeted zip codes.  Appointments are available April 14, 2021 to June 9, 2021. Click here for additional details about eligible zip codes, how to schedule an appointment, and what is needed for an appointment. A free Metro Transit will be provided for the day of your appointment and send in a confirmation text message and email.  
    • The State is operating clinics to complete Phase 1a priority groups. You can get on the list for these clinics by completing the Vaccine Connector.  Connector appointments are received by email and it may take 1-3 weeks to receive an appointment because of the demand.  
    • If you have already completed the Connector and need to revise your form to provide this answer, you would call the Vaccine Connector hotline at 833-431-2053 to update your form. 
  4. Requesting an On-Site Vaccine Clinic
    • Work continues to bring vaccine directly to congregate sites. If you work in an eligible congregate setting (homeless or domestic violence shelter, transitional housing, supportive housing, board and lodge or Department of Corrections-licensed halfway home) and not all your staff or residents are able to travel to a clinic to get vaccinated you can submit a request for an onsite vaccinator through. Click here to access the request form.  
    • Directions on how to fill out the request form can be found here. You should select Human Services as the partner type; Track A as the resource request type; and Shelter or Subsidized/Low-Income Congregate Housing as the site type.
    • Please note that vaccinators’ ability to conduct an on-site clinic will depend on the size and type of facility requesting assistance.  

Flyer with information on acceding the COVID-19 vaccine and transportation resources.

Pause on Johnson and Johnson Vaccine Administration

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The cases have occurred among women between the ages of 18-48 and between 6-13 days after receiving the vaccine. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is not aware of any cases in Minnesota as of April 2, 2021. Anyone who has received the J&J vaccine who develops severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. ​

Until further review of the cases, MDH is advising a pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. MDH has sent out a Health Alert Notice to health care providers and local and tribal health departments. There have been no such side effects reported in association with Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and those vaccines will continue to be administered.

Overview Information

The At-Risk Populations Work Group developed and is executing a plan for vaccine distribution for people experiencing homelessness and the people who support them. This plan will take into consideration individuals in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, isolation hotels, unsheltered individuals, high risk hotels, emergency shelters, domestic violence and women’s shelters, and youth shelters. Our primary goal is to improve accessibility of vaccination and reduce barriers to vaccination for people experiencing homelessness and those who support them.

Achieving this goal requires engaging and listening, creating customized approaches, streamlining administrative and operational processes, and understanding and evaluating progress and impact. The entire effort will be rapid, adaptive, and committed to continuous improvement. The state welcomes your input throughout the vaccine planning and roll out efforts.

This site will be updated as there is more information to share. Join the weekly provider webinar each Wednesday from 1:00-2:00 p.m. to hear from our state team and ask any questions you may have.

Important Considerations for Providers:

  • Access to shelter and services should not be restricted to those who provide proof of having been vaccinated.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  All of the COVID-19 vaccines that are being used have gone through the same safety tests and meet the same standards as any other vaccines.
  • Under the EUA, people must be given the opportunity to accept or decline the vaccine. Getting the vaccine is an individual choice.
  • We know the vaccine protects the vaccinated person, but we still don’t have data on whether it protects the vaccinated person from spreading it to others.