St. Paul nurse creates Facebook page helping find vaccine for Minnesotans

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Kari Grieman is a radiation oncology nurse and a mother who decided to add a volunteer project to her busy life.

"As I was digging, I was learning so much information, I was trying to share it on my Facebook page, but then I realized I should probably connect with more than my five Facebook friends who follow me," Gieman said with a smile.

She launched a Facebook page, St. Paul Minnesota Vaccine Assistance. She finds COVID-19 vaccines for those needing help. Her site already has more than 2,000 members.

"I tell her all the time she’s a warrior, she’s an angel," said 67-year-old Kay Kuppe, who got the vaccine with the help of Grieman.

"I do think it’s been unbelievably important for her in this battle, that we’ve all been fighting for over a year, and she’s finally really helping people see the light at the end of the tunnel," Kuppe said.

Grieman says she’s personally helped hundreds of people find an appointment.

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She shares information like who has the vaccine and other tips and tricks like this one about CVS Pharmacy.

"If you click Minnesota, and it says full, if you click into a state that has available appointments, for example, Michigan. It’ll say available, you click through and answer eligibility questions and some safety questions and it’ll say ‘OK, what state,’ then you click Minnesota and then it’ll say ‘What city,’ and then that reroute will populate appointments," she shared.

She’s also found appointments through Walmart with the midnight trick.

"Walmart releases their appointments at midnight, but if you don’t want to stay up until midnight, you change the settings on your phone to New York time," she explained.

That trick, she says, will allow you to have access to appointments sooner. Grieman says Walgreens is offering the vaccine to those 50 and over. Cub Pharmacies offer the vaccine to those 18 years of age and older, which Grieman says likely means they have either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Both are opening up more appointments in Minnesota, as is Dakota County, which Grieman says likely has the Pfizer vaccine because she says that is the only one available for 16 and 17-year-olds.

If you don’t want to schedule an appointment, she says try Community Care Clinics of Minnesota in north and south Minneapolis, which have open vaccine clinics.

"Which means you don’t need an appointment, you stand in line," she said. "Those that are currently eligible go to the front of the line."

The north Minneapolis clinics are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and the south Minneapolis clinics are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

She says people are traveling to get the shot, and in greater Minnesota, Guidepoint Pharmacy is a great bet, particularly the Brainerd and Aitkin locations.

Countryside Public Health in Montevideo has availability for those 16 and over now, and Winona and Filmore Counties have vaccine for those residents through the Winona Health Clinic.

"We see that there is a path to hope and healing, and we are really excited to be on that path," she says.

While the volunteer time is extensive, she says it’s worth it.

"When I first started, I realized the vaccine gives a person not only so much thankfulness and joy, it gives me equal amount. If I can do it for one, wonderful. If I can do it for 100, great," she shared.