We are all eager to have the COVID pandemic over.  Minnesota is not the only place where people are asking about the rollout of the vaccine.

Dusty Dienst, Faribault Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director told KDHL AM Minnesota listeners first responders have received their COVID shots if they wanted them.

Dienst says, "i've had almost daily contact wiith the public health people.  The frustration is having the doses.  There's plans in place.  I got my first shot and all the firefighters that wanted one and that went pretty well.  We are in Phase 1a.  It was a smaller number and I think that worked out pretty well because we didn't have a lot of doses but it also helps you as a planner to ease into what will be in our near future the vaccination of everybody."

Dienst added, "So doing it in phases like this allows us to get a feel for how it goes.  How quickly it can go through.  How much room you need.  All of the above."

I asked Dienst if had any side effects with his shot.  He said his arm hurt for a couple of days and that was about it but each person apparently has a different reaction and he indicated the belief is more reactions will occur with the second dose of the vaccine.

The Rice County Public Health Department tells us, "Vaccinations for most individuals in Phase 1a first and second priority groups in Rice County have been completed, and we are now working on the third priority group in Phase 1a.  This includes healthcare staff unable to telework, including but not limited to those working in home health, emergency shelters, dental offices, pharmacies, mental health/behavioral health settings such as assisted livings, group homes and adult foster care settings."

In a Rice County Public Health news release they say, "MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) recently announced more flexibility as doses become available, including offering vaccinations for those over 65 years of age.  MDH's position follows significant changes recently in federal guidance on vaccine distribution."

The news release states, "Rice County Public Health currently does not have doses available for individuals 65 years and older.  Once we have vaccines available we will inform the public through public announcements and media channels.  We do NOT have a waitlist for vaccines.  Please do NOT call to be asked to be put on a wait list."

"To date, Rice County Public Health has received 500 doses for first vaccinations, and those vaccines have all been administered.  We too are patiently waiting for more vaccines to arrive.  The state and federal government drive the vaccine delivery process and timeline.  Vaccine rollout is happinging differently in each state, based on federal guidelines that each state adapts based on capacity and supplies in that state."

Dienst explained the 500 doses was the Rice County Public Health portion of doses.  Allina, Mayo have their own allotment of doses.

Dienst said, "It was planned to get all people 75 and older in the first phase vaccinated in the first week or two.  That's pretty tough.  That's a lot of people. there's a lot of logistics to make that happen."

You can listen to the program in it's entirety below.


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