ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — A mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Rochester Community and Technical College began Friday afternoon. Its 2,300 available doses were targeted toward priority group 1A3; covering group home employees, dental offices and health care workers and educators who haven’t been vaccinated yet.
Local health leaders say they were able to do the clinic thanks to an increase in COVID-19 doses this week.
“For the first time since the availability of the vaccine, we were able to get enough doses for a mass clinic,” Olmsted County Public Health COVID Response Operations Chief Dan Jensen said.
Between Friday and Saturday, about 2,300 Olmsted County employees will walk through the RCTC’s Field House doors to get vaccinated. Jensen says his team has the capacity to administer about 260 vaccines every hour.
“This is just truly an asset, and for RCTC to invite us in to do this is amazing to us,” Jensen said. “We had the state come down and do a walk through with us a number of months ago and they said this is one of, if not the best facility to do a mass clinic in the state of Minnesota.”
While KTTC crews were not able to see that play out in real time, it’s clear that Jensen and his team have it down to a science.
“We’re able to keep everyone social distancing. It’s indicative to the community,” he said. “It’s the partnerships we have in place, the planning that we’ve done for a very long time, our experiences with H1N1 back in the day, all of those experiences are coming to the forefront.”
It’s not clear how long the mass vaccination clinic will last. Jensen says vaccine doses are a moving target.
“We don’t know how many doses we will have next week, but our goal is that we will build out systems,” he said. “Now that we can understand that if we have a certain number of doses, we can move to another mass vaccination clinic.”
It is clear though, how Jensen and his team got to this point.
“We’re here, we want to help,” Jensen said. “How can we help? That’s the collaboration that we have.”
That success is thanks to Olmsted County, and the people in it.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way this community comes together and does things as a community to support the health and well being of individuals in this community,” Jensen added.
Those eligible to get vaccinated at the mass clinic will be contacted.
This clinic is separate from the two semi permanent clinic sites run by the state located in Duluth and Minneapolis. State health officials say a third site will open up next week in southern Minnesota next week. The location is still to be determined. Jensen says if the state wanted to work with county officials, they would gladly accept.