ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Co-lead of Mayo’s vaccine distribution program Dr. Abinash Virk claims that Mayo has the capacity to vaccinate up to 50,000 people a week.
However, the number of doses being delivered each week much smaller than that, who gets it first is based on who is most at risk.
Admitting that a few Mayo telehealth workers might have been vaccinated by accident, Virk assures that it was not done intentionally and can be explained by other factors.
“The guidance from the state has been changing, evolving and pivoting regular on a frequent basis,” Virk said. “Right now, I think everything depends on the vaccine supply.”
Mayo says it has been prioritizing based on most risk from the start. That includes back in December when the vaccine was first available.
“Whether they were in the ICU, medical floor, lab workers, custodians who were cleaning the room and anyone who was coming into contact with COVID-19 patients,” Virk said.
Many in the community have pointed to examples of Mayo workers not coming on campus getting their vaccines before non-Mayo healthcare providers.
One anonymous tip to KTTC: “I personally know two people who have been given the vaccine that, although they work at Mayo, have zero patient contact. These people are not frontline workers nor are they essential workers. They clearly fall in Phase 3.”
The KTTC tip line is flooded with people wanting to remain anonymous, all claiming the same thing.
“It’s possible that some people were categorized as patient facing or on-campus when they may not have been,” Virk said. “This process unfortunately was not perfect.”
In general, Virk is blaming any out of order vaccinating of staff on the confusion and quick pace of the vaccine rollout. She also says Mayo was not given guidance from the state to vaccinate those healthcare workers outside of Mayo’s operation. But now, they’re willing to share.
“For our own healthcare workers, when we get more vaccine, we’ll continue vaccinating them but let’s allocate some of those doses for community members,” Virk said. “We are so happy to have them come and get vaccinated this week.”
While state guidance advises vaccinating anyone over 65 years of age, a new pilot program at Mayo starting this week narrows that down.
“The guidance that we received was for 80 years of age that live in the counties we serve,” Virk explains.
She says all of these appointments are booked for the first week. Mayo expects to vaccinate about 1,800 people over 80 this week.
Mayo does not know how much vaccine will be allotted next week but hope to finish all 6,000 of its patients over 80 as well as non-Mayo patients in the same age range in the next few weeks.