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Minnesota starts drawing names in COVID vaccine lottery for 65 and older

By Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio News

The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday will notify people who were randomly selected for an appointment in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination lottery for Minnesotans 65 and older.

The state closed its 24-hour sign-up window at 5 a.m. Officials said more than 226,000 people signed up online and by phone for a chance at one of the roughly 8,000 doses available in this round.

People whose names are drawn will be able to make an appointment for their first dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine at one of nine vaccination sites across the state.

For those who have chosen to be alerted by phone, health officials are urging people to have their phone nearby. Reservation-takers will only call each phone number twice, within a two-hour window — and then will move on to the next number.

The state will give the people randomly selected instructions on how to schedule their appointment. If they’re unable to use their slot, the state will randomly select another person to schedule a vaccination instead.

The state says anyone who signed up for this week’s lottery, but didn’t get an appointment, will automatically remain on the list, for as long as the pilot program continues.