Some Minnesotans traveling out of state to receive vaccine

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As the state works to vaccinate people with specific conditions and targeted essential workers in the spring, many Minnesotans don’t want to wait. Thousands are leaving the state to find other ways to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 15,000 Minnesotans have gone to other states to get their shots, while at least 26,000 people living in other states have come to Minnesota for the vaccine, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

"If there were health care workers who were employed by a Minnesota facility but resided in Wisconsin, it was very appropriate to be vaccinating them. So there is going to be some crossover that is appropriate and necessary," said Kris Ehresmann, with MDH.

When asked earlier this week about people living in different states – like Wisconsin – getting vaccinated in Minnesota, MDH officials said they do not think it will have a big effect on the overall vaccine rollout.

"I think that does happen, but it’s probably less of an issue. And so I don’t think it will make an appreciable difference in our vaccine availability," said Ehresmann.

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As of the latest data released by MDH on Saturday, more than 60% of Minnesotans older than 65 years old have been vaccinated, and about 17% of people between 50-64 years old have received at least one dose.

Some living in Minnesota felt uneasy about the trek thousands are making to other states.

"That seems unfair to me," said Carol Schneider, who lives in Minnesota. "Like, if I went somewhere else to get the vaccine when someone in the state needs that vaccine more than I do, I’m willing to wait my turn and anxiously get one when my turn comes."

"It’s going to take a long time to vaccinate the whole country, so I don’t have any gripes with it. I think they’re doing the best they can," said Nancy Hupp, who lives in Minnesota.

But the desire for many is to just move forward.

"I think everybody should wait their turn. I think that we should be focusing on the people who need it the most," said Matthew Heinz, who lives in Minnesota. "I would just like for us to get this going, get everybody vaccinated, get over this and move on with our lives."