Updated: February 24, 2021 06:08 PM
Created: February 24, 2021 04:29 PM
Many teachers across the state are frustrated with a recent mix-up with vaccinations.
Earlier this week, Hy-Vee opened up appointments to teachers but they were quickly canceled.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked to multiple teachers who got word they could sign up for their COVID-19 vaccine on Hy-Vee's website. Some even received a confirmation email.
One educator who spoke anonymously to KSTP said he was excited and has been waiting to get his shot. Then, that teacher said Hy-Vee called him saying they were calling "scores of teachers" canceling these appointments because they weren't allowed to vaccinate them.
The Minnesota Department of Health released a statement saying:
"The retail pharmacy program is currently providing vaccination for people 65+ in Minnesota. That criteria was established when this program was rolled out by the federal government and all three providers in this program had that information they were preparing to start taking appointments.
"After we learned that Hy-Vee was offering appointments to a broader population and hadn't provided the limited eligibility criteria on their website, we told Hy-Vee they needed to follow guidelines and should only be vaccinating people 65 and older. We also offered support to help make sure the teachers who had made appointments were appropriately connected to the educator vaccination program currently running in Olmstead County. And we had additional conversations with local public health, beyond our typical ongoing contact, to make sure the local education program is appropriately connected to local schools.
"Currently, teachers in Greater Minnesota are being vaccinated by local public health. Teachers should be notified by their employer about vaccine opportunities, which is being coordinated through the Minnesota Department of Education. We remain in regular communication with the local public health department and local school district to support efforts to vaccinate teachers.
"Unfortunately, we still have a very limited supply of vaccine, but in time, we hope to have more vaccine available to more people in the state. For those 65 and older, there are several options for where to get the vaccine at the link here."
Deputy Commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Education Heather Mueller addressed the issue.
"We know that there was some confusion around that because if you are 65 plus and you are an educator, you could fit into the 65 plus, but if you're below that, you don't meet the criteria because this is a very specific federal program," Mueller said.
Hy-Vee released the following statement:
"The Minnesota Department of Health did let us know earlier this week that while educators and child care staff are eligible under overall State guidance to receive the vaccine at this time, they are not eligible under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which is where Hy-Vee's Minnesota vaccine allocations are through. The MDH assured us that educators, school staff, and child care workers will hear from their local public health agency, employer, state-sponsored community vaccination site, or state vaccination partner about when and where they can get vaccinated. In the meantime, since the allocation we are receiving is from the federal government, we will focus on vaccinating those 65 and over at this time. The State has assured us that they have a plan in place for educators and child care/school staff."
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