Minnesota prepares to ramp up vaccinations after approval of J&J vaccine

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More Minnesotans will soon be able to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz announced the launch of a COVID-19 community vaccination event at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan.

It also comes as M Health Fairview is increasing the number of people who can get vaccinated at its locations.

This is part of the state’s Community Vaccination Program. Beginning this week, about 13,400 Minnesotans will get vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Part of this new effort is the state’s new partnership with the Minnesota Vikings. Starting Friday, thousands of people ages 65 and older can get their shot at the Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center in Eagan. Minnesotans can sign up through the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Connector tool.

Community vaccination site launches at TCO Performance Center in Eagan this week

"It’s really exciting to think about what the next four to six weeks are going to look like," M Health Fairview’s Chief Quality Officer Abe Jacob said.

Jacob said his team is also working hard to get more vaccines to more people. M Health Fairview announced Thursday morning that it’s lowered its age threshold to 65 for Minnesotans seeking the COVID-19 vaccine because of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply.

With first J&J shots available, M Health Fairview opens vaccinations to Minnesotans 65 and up

"We have several sites where we’re providing the vaccine. This weekend, we are opening up a larger site where we will have multiple lanes opened up," Jacob said.

Jacob is urging Minnesotans to get whichever vaccine is available soonest, despite their differences.

"I would consider them all clinically just as effective as the other … When people try to compare the vaccines, it’s a really difficult comparison because it is not apples to apples, it is more like apples to oranges," Jacob said.

However, he added, "They all prevent hospitalization and death, which is the endpoint that we are trying to accomplish to end this pandemic."

M Health Fairview said Minnesotans can sign up online. Its mass Johnson & Johnson event will be held in Minneapolis at the Fairview Interstate Building by appointment only.