Amid high demand, Minnesota offers COVID-19 vaccine lottery

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London. U.K. regulators said Wednesday Dec. 9, 2020, that people who have a “significant history’’ of allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine while they investigate two adverse reactions that occurred on the first day of the country’s mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

ST PAUL, Minn. (NEXSTAR) — With demand high for appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Minnesota has come up with a new distribution approach: a vaccine lottery.

Gov. Tim Walz said the demand has been “enormous,” overwhelming the state website and phone lines, reported KARE-11.

But for 24 hours, which run through 5 a.m. Wednesday, people 65 and older can register online or by phone for a chance to be randomly selected for a slot.

Registrations can be made at any time during that period for the same chance of being chosen, state officials said. Those selected will be given an appointment time at one of Minnesota’s nine vaccination sites.

Lottery winners will be notified later Wednesday by text, email, or phone with instructions on how to finalize the appointment. If a winner cannot use the appointment, someone else on the pre-registration list will be randomly selected for it.

Nearly 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed at the vaccination sites, KARE-11 reported.

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