Essentia Health continues to work with state departments of health in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for members of the general public.

Notification to groups will occur once there is appointment availability. The most recent update from the Minnesota Department of Health is the flexibility to begin vaccinating anyone ages 65 and older if there is more vaccine than needed to complete Phase 1a.

While Essentia Health can’t wait to begin administering the vaccine broadly within the communities it serves, supplies currently are limited. Essentia Health will continue to follow guidelines from state departments of health, which determine vaccination priority.

Essentia Health will contact patients when it’s their turn.

Essentia patients are encouraged to sign up for MyChart, which will be the primary method of notification. Once patients receive notice via MyChart, they will be able to easily schedule their vaccination.

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To register, visit EssentiaHealth.org and click on the “MyChart” button in the upper right-hand corner; then click “sign up.” There is also a MyChart app for smart devices.

Additionally, Essentia Health will send a voice message to patients’ preferred phone number in their medical record. Besides using MyChart, individuals will be able to call to schedule appointments, once they are available. Using MyChart to schedule an appointment is recommended due to anticipated lengthy wait times by phone.

Vaccine allocation and appointments are subject to change and appointments may need to be re-scheduled due to vaccine availability.

The COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, 21 or 28 days apart depending on the manufacturer.

Through exhaustive clinical trials that featured tens of thousands of patients, both vaccines currently available to Essentia Health - from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna - were found to have effectiveness rates of about 95%. They have proven to be safe, as well. Minimal side effects have included headaches, fatigue and injection-site pain.

Those with questions or concerns about the vaccine, are urged to contact their primary care provider. Similarly, those with a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines or medications should contact their primary care provider.

Additional information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on by visiting EssentiaHealth.org and clicking on the vaccine distribution link at the top of the page.