Winona County ready to vaccinate more people when more vaccine is available

The county is not part of the state's new pilot program

WINONA, MN (WKBT)- Minnesota is expanding its vaccine rollout, making more people eligible for the shot this week.  Winona County says its ready, but health officials can’t vaccinate more people without more vaccine.  “That’s really the linchpin in our plan”, explains County Emergency Management director Ben Klinger. 

The County is vaccinating healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff. The health department is excited to offer the vaccine to other people at risk, but can’t as of now. “There is very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the state of MN, despite what the Federal government promises we are still waiting for increased vaccine and to receive more guidance.” , says Winona County Health & Human Services supervisor Melanie Tatge.

Governor Tim Walz announced this week, the state is expanding vaccine rollout. 9 pilot sites will serve adults 65-years and older, pre-k through 12 educators, and child care workers.  Winona County is not part of the program. “So, having the criteria expanded in the state is great, and vaccinating priorities groups is awesome as well, however we are really dependent on the vaccine being here in our hands in order to give it to our community.” says Winona Health C.O.O. Sara Gabrick.

When more vaccine is available, Winona County leaders  says theyre ready.  Tatge says they are prepared to get the vaccine into peoples’ arm within a week after it arrives.  “There will be no hang-up when it gets to us. We’ve pledged to not let any vaccine sit.”, says Klinger. A promise the county can’t wait to deliver. 

For more information about vaccine availability go to the state’s vaccine website.