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Almost anyone can get vaccinated

But, UHD in Blue Earth has not seen a rush to sign up for a shot

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Apr 6, 2021

UHD has now administered over 1,200 COVID-19 vaccinations to residents of the area and the staff at UHD.

When Minnesota Governor Tim Walz relaxed the restrictions on who could get the COVID-19 vaccinations, lowering the age to 16, the staff at United Hospital District in Blue Earth expected a deluge of phone calls from residents wanting to sign up to get the vaccination.

It did not really happen.

“We were expecting to get a flood of calls,” UHD CEO Rick Ash says. “But honestly, it did not happen.”

Ash says when the vaccine first came out and was only available to persons age 65 and older, the response was overwhelming.

“It actually shut down our phone system,” Ash says. “We had to make some technical changes to the phone system to keep up with all the calls.”

Missy Storbeck, UHD chief nursing officer, says they were expecting another surge in calls when Gov. Walz made his announcement two weeks ago that virtually everyone could now get the COVID-19 vaccination.

“But this week (March 31) we received 246 doses of vaccines,” Storbeck says. “And we still have 25 doses for tomorrow (April 1) which are not filled. So we are reaching out to others through Facebook and the radio to try and get these filled.”

The last thing they want is for the vaccine’s to go unused, Storbeck says.

“We want everyone to get vaccinated,” she says. “And anyone who wants to be is now eligible.”

People getting the shot this past Thursday will be getting the second dose on April 22.

Storbeck says that as of this past Thursday, UHD staff have administered the vaccination to 1,246 members of the public, plus another 156 UHD employees have been vaccinated.

“We find out each week on Wednesday how many doses we are getting for the next week,” Storbeck explains. “We got the 256 last week, but this next week we are getting 102 doses. So we will open up that hotline phone number again to take reservations for the shot.”

That phone number to schedule a vaccination appointment is 507-526-7700.

UHD has only been getting the Pfiser and the Moderna vaccinations, Storbeck said.

“I believe the Johnson & Johnson one-time only vaccination is being reserved for pharmacies,” she says. “That is because it is more difficult for them to take the reservations and schedule second shots.”

It is also being saved for use at colleges, she added, for much the same reasons.

Additional information about the vaccinations being done locally is included in a weekly update story elsewhere on this page of this week’s Register.