How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine as a Teen

MN State Gov Flyer for the Vaccine Connector

Cayden Mayer, Staff Writer

MN State Government Flyer for the Vaccine Connector

With vaccine rollout well underway across the country, especially in Minnesota, with 3,687,953 doses administered to Minnesotans, vaccines are becoming slightly easier to find, but it is still a difficult process. The Minnesota State Government quickly rolled out the vaccine connecter once Pfizer became authorized through an emergency order from the FDA. However, this program left a lot to be desired. Once signed up, individuals simply had to wait for a call to schedule an appointment. There was no clear calendar, locations, or schedule for the doses and no way to predict when people would get the call. This connector is also only notifying individuals of vaccine openings at state-run events or locations, and it does not do anything in relation to big companies like Walmart, Costco, Thrifty White, and Walgreens, who are all running widespread distribution programs. As a result, many people lost hope in the state-run connector and turned to private companies for their vaccine.

However, the struggle did not end with the shift to companies. Many places only schedule appointments a week out, they get booked almost as soon as they are posted, and they do not reset until midnight. One useful tool for many has been Vaccine Spotter. This tool, made by Nick Muerdter, is a free-to-use site that allows the searcher to enter their zip code, the distance they are willing to travel for their vaccine, which dose number they need, and what vaccine they need. From there, it loads both a map and a list of locations and appointment availability that meets the searcher’s criteria. It also provides a link attached to each appointment to bring individuals directly to the distributor and allows them to sign up as soon as an appointment becomes available.

Example Image of the Vaccine Spotter in MN

At present, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in 16 and 17-year-olds, with Moderna only authorized for adults and Johnson & Johnson having been recently halted. Luckily, in Minnesota, the Pfizer vaccine is the most common vaccine, with 1,889,327 out of the total 3,697,953 doses administered in Minnesota being Pfizer shots. Currently, certain Walmart, Costco, Walgreens, and Thrifty White locations are offering Pfizer. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective against preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases, according to the Mayo Clinic. The vaccine is administered in two doses spaced 21 days apart, and someone is considered to be fully vaccinated 14 days after their second shot.

State Fair Grounds Informational Flyer, eligibility
State Fair Grounds Informational Flyer, contact info

The State Fair grounds have recently become a massive vaccine administering location, specifically targeting historically underserved communities. With appointments available starting April 14, 2021, and continuing through June 9, 2021. Minnesotans only need a mask to get vaccinated and only need to provide their first and last name, date of birth, and address. Other community sites like the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, which previously served as just a testing facility, have also ramped up state-run vaccine administration.

If individuals cannot or do not have any luck with a state-run facility, CostcoWalgreensWalmartHyVeeThrifty WhiteCVSSam’s Club, and Health Mart are all good places to look.