[Fergus Falls, Elbow Lake and Morris, MN] In our ongoing efforts to be a leader in the COVID-19 response in our communities, Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) and Prairie Ridge Healthcare (PRH) were recently given a very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines. This allocation from the state of Minnesota was designated to vaccinate community members aged 65 and older. Appointments for these limited vaccines filled very quickly and we are currently working to put pressure on the federal and state government to allocate more doses to us as quickly as possible.
“The state of Minnesota has designated persons 65 and older along with some educators and childcare providers as priority groups for the next vaccine allocations,” said Roberta Young, LRH Chief Nursing Officer. “Our first allocation from the state was limited to certain healthcare workers, and now we are moving to the next phase to serve our community members by vaccinating people 65 and older.”
Clinics and health care systems in Minnesota are given strict guidelines by the State for administering the limited supply of vaccines. “It’s important to understand that we have what it takes to vaccinate in an expedited manner and we are partnering with public health and neighboring health systems to get this job done,” said LRH CEO Kent Mattson. “At this point, our most critical need is for the federal government to get more vaccine to our state so that the state leaders can allocate more to us as quickly as possible to meet the overwhelming demand that far outweighs limited supply and that is bogged down by the resulting prioritization guidelines.”
Once more allocations are available, LRH and PRH will follow these guidelines for administering the doses:
- Only people 65 and older as defined by the State of Minnesota as eligible to receive our vaccine allotments at LRH and PRH will be considered for appointments during this phase. As we receive more vaccines, we will do our best to reach the highest risk populations within this group to make the largest impact with our limited supplies.
- Appointments will be required and walk-ins will not be accepted.
- Appointments will be made available at the Elbow Lake, Fergus Falls and Morris Clinics with additional outreach clinic locations added to the schedule as supply & logistics allow.
- The latest information and details about vaccine availability will be regularly updated at lrhc.org/COVID19Vaccine.
- There is no cost to the public for the COVID-19 vaccine. An administration fee for costs related to administering the vaccine will be sent to the patient’s insurance as appropriate. If it is not covered or insurance is not available, this fee will not apply to any co-pays and is not passed on to the patient.
- There have been many questions about the vaccines available through the Fergus Falls location of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Pilot Sites. The latest information we have received from MDH is that these appointments are also currently filled. Minnesotans age 65 and older can get information and when available, schedule an appointment online, by visiting their website or by phone at 612-426-7230 or 833-431-2053. Child care programs and schools will work directly with employees eligible through the pilot program to get an appointment through the state-sponsored appointment scheduling portal. The state’s COVID-19 Response website has the latest information for these eligible 65+ and educator/childcare workers.
“Because our supply fluctuates according to the MDH allotment we receive, we ask for patience and understanding as we all do our best to effectively work with what we have,” Young said. “As we get more vaccine supply, we will vaccinate more people. Along with Public Health we share the goal of helping vaccinate everyone against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Please remember we are working hard to ensure everyone can eventually get access to the vaccine, but it depends on the amount made available to us and which priority groups are identified by state and federal guidelines.”
For information about the safety of the vaccine, what to expect after you receive your vaccine and answers to other common questions, please visit one of the following sites:
Horizon Public Health Vaccine Resources (Grant, Stevens, Douglas, Pope & Traverse County)
About the Lake Region Healthcare Enterprise
The Lake Region Healthcare enterprise is comprised of Lake Region Healthcare, an independent community-governed non-profit headquartered in Fergus Falls, the Mill Street Residence Assisted Living Facility in Fergus Falls, and the non-profit critical access hospital, Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services headquartered in Elbow Lake. With over 100 medical staff and over 1,000 employees, we are dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of our communities with values of Excellence, Person-Centered, Collaboration, Stewardship, Integrity, Respect and Innovation. Together we bring specialty and sub-specialty services to patients at hospital locations in Fergus Falls and Elbow Lake and at clinics in Ashby, Barnesville, Battle Lake, Evansville, Herman, Hoffman, and Morris, MN. For more information visit: www.lrhc.org, www.prairiehealth.org or www.millstreet.lrhc.org.