Omicron booster shot rollout begins in Minnesota

Minnesotans can now start receiving the updated COVID-19 booster shots.

Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that appointments for the omicron variant boosters opened at the state-run sites at Mall of America and the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Other sites will start offering appointments in the coming days, the health department says.

Pharmacies are also making appointments available, and health care, local public health, tribal health agencies and other health care providers across the state are also ready to offer appointments as soon as they receive the vaccines.

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The rollout comes less than a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the updated bivalent booster shots, which are a combination of the original vaccine and an updated recipe to protect against the omicron variant.

The Pfizer booster is recommended for people 12 and older while the Moderna booster is for those 18 and older. Both can be given two months after a primary vaccine series or other booster vaccination.

“Staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines is a crucial part of protecting our state in the months ahead,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. “The bivalent boosters were shown to be safe and effective, and they will be a key tool in helping provide better protection against variants that are currently spreading. I would also encourage eligible Minnesotans who are seeking this updated booster to take this opportunity to ensure your whole family is up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations so you have the best protection possible as school starts and before end-of-year holidays.”

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The boosters will still be free for all Minnesotans, regardless of insurance status.

MDH says Minnesota received approximately 300,000 doses of the bivalent boosters in the first round of distribution.

The MOA site is offering appointments as early as Wednesday afternoon and DECC’s appointments start Sunday. The MOA site will be open from 1-8 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The DECC site will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and noon to 7 p.m. on Mondays. Both sites will offer the Pfizer booster, according to MDH.

Click here to find a vaccine provider near you or find vaccine appointments by vaccine type here.

COVID-19 tests are also still being offered for walk-ins or those with an appointment at the state’s community testing sites.

Minnesotans with questions about COVID-19 can call the state’s public hotline at 1-833-431-2053.