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Senior residents in Minnesota have been given 24 hours to partake in a COVID-19 vaccine lottery, which will involve doling out appointment slots in a randomized process instead of a frenzied first-come, first-serve basis.
Tim Walz took to Twitter Monday to share news of the update, writing: "Today we made changes to Minnesota’s community vaccination efforts.
The 24-hour window for those aged 65 and up launched at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, and residents were encouraged to pre-register online.
The state said selected individuals will be notified via text, email, or phone on Jan. 27 to finalize appointments.
MINNESOTA CONFIRMS BRAZIL CORONAVIRUS VARIANT CASE, FIRST IN USSeniors were instructed to have their phones handy, if they choose to be contacted via phone, because reservationists will make two attempted calls amid time constraints.
One retired librarian in Florida, 71-year-old Barbara Shlevin, placed 184 calls to the Broward County health department and hospital systems, looking for a coronavirus vaccine, per the Washington Post.
State data from Minnesota list some 335,000 doses already administered, as of Jan. 22, with those aged 18 to 49 receiving the largest share of doses.
News of the vaccine lottery invoked a flurry of criticism on social media.
The news from Minnesota comes as the state health department just announced the country's first known case of a coronavirus variant initially detected in Brazil.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGEHealth officials said the strain is believed to be more transmissible, but it is not clear whether it causes more severe illness.
There are also eight reported cases of the more contagious U.K. strain in Minnesota, which U.K. officials just said may be more deadly.
The health department advised mitigation steps like mask wearing and physical distancing can reduce the spread of all strains.
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