State-run vaccination site at Mall of America shuts down

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials have closed their COVID-19 vaccination site at the Mall of America.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that health officials closed the site on Friday evening following a visit from Gov. Tim Walz.

The site was the largest vaccination spot in the state. More than 236,000 doses of vaccine were administered there since it opened in February 2021.

Nurse Cathy Dichter said the first days of offering vaccines at the mall looked like photos from history books, with rows of nurses working nonstop to administer shots.

“Everyone was frightened, scared, relieved that they were going to get their shot,” she said. “Some would cry. Some would hug you. Some would just say ‘I haven’t talked to people in days. Can I just sit and talk to you?’ Because it was during the time where everyone was shut in.”

She said she remembered the first day of administering doses to children between the ages of 5 and 11 sounded like an “echo torture chamber with Disney music loudly infused amongst the clinic.”

Walz said the closure shouldn’t be seen as a signal for people to eschew vaccinations. He said people need to keep getting booster shots and respect COVID-19 protocols.

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