Seniors experience frustration and confusion trying to get COVID-19 vaccines

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Richard and Penny Fick of Richfield have a story we have been hearing over and over again.

"It’s frustrating," said Penny.

"The age requirement keeps bouncing around. You hear it’s 65, some places it’s 75," said Richard.

Richard is a 74-year-old veteran. They have tried to get him the vaccine through the state’s lottery system, through their regular clinic and through the Veteran’s Hospital. Nothing has worked.

"We thought he could go to the VA because he’s a veteran. He’s served his time," said Penny.

The process has been confusing and frustrating for a lot of seniors because eligibility doesn’t necessarily mean availability. In many cases, providers are starting with the most vulnerable of their patients which are considered to be those over the age of 75, which means patients in the 65-74-year age range still have to wait.

MDH COVID-19 briefing: Vaccine rollout continues, 65+ group could take ‘weeks’ to complete

Tuesday afternoon Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health acknowledged the challenges many are having.

"While we have more vaccines available for seniors than we ever have, it’s still a drop in the bucket. A million people in Minnesota are ages 65 and older. It’s going to be really difficult to get an appointment," she said.

In the meantime, Richard and Penny Fick will keep trying. And hopefully soon there will be more doses in Minnesota and fewer stories like theirs.

"We’re not giving up," said Richard.