UPDATE 9:20 p.m. In a news release Thursday evening, MDH says 374 vaccine doses were distributed at the Rochester site as of 8 p.m. Thursday.
2,399 Minnesotans received doses statewide.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The Minnesota Department of Health’s pilot vaccination sites for adults over the age of 65 and educators kicked Thursday. One of the nine locations across the state is in Rochester at Willow Creek Middle School.
Out of the 60,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated to the state weekly, 12,000 doses are now diverted towards the pilot program.
“Last week was my birthday! So, this was my birthday present,” vaccine recipient Michael Leming said.
“Lucky. Mostly lucky,” another recipient Debbie Flobin said after walking out of Willow Creek.
After a registration website crash Tuesday — and only a selected few 6,000 Minnesotans able to make appointments — lucky, might be the perfect description.
“My daughter in law got it for me,” Betty Wilson said. “She’s the one that got it for me. No problems at all.”
“It’s really easy,” Michael said. “We just went online.”
The exuberance was felt outside the school and in the cold January wind.
“I feel great. I feel like before I went in. I’m ready for lunch. I’m always ready for lunch,” Michael joked.
“We got so fortunate. We were sure to get one for him first,” Ann Leming said, gesturing to her husband. “It was so easy. Everyone was very organized in there. They had lines you go through. I sat down. Got the shot and she was done. I said ‘you’re done?'”
Michael added that it didn’t hurt at all.
“Everyone was really excited. It was perfect,” Flobin said.”
“Just wonderful. Real good. No aches or nothing,” Wilson said.
Getting the golden ticket wasn’t so easy for everyone.
“I had four people working on it. My two daughters, my husband and myself. My daughter got through online within about 10 minutes. So we’re, you know, really lucky. So, I’m good to go!”
But it was worth it — to see that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, first hand.
“Right now, this is the most important thing in my life,” Flobin said. “My other life I can’t have it until I get the vaccine. It’s pretty important.”
Minnesotans eligible to get vaccinated in the pilot program can register online or call 833-431-2053. Appointments can be made for next week starting Tuesday.