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Cutting out the pandemic pandemonium

Last week’s Minnesota pilot program to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to people 65 and older ran into typical rollout problems. People had to go online at noon on Tuesday to sign up for an appointment at one of nine vaccination sites throughout the state. Thousands of people tried to log in at noon, crashing the system. About 6,000 doses of vaccine were available, not enough to begin to meet the demand. Those who waited hours online to sign up for an appointment were disappointed that they were too late, and they would have to go through it all again this week.

Monday, Gov. Tim Walz announced a change in the process that should solve a lot of the pandemic pandemonium. Instead of the first-come, first-served system of last week, seniors, teachers and child care workers now have 24 hours, starting at 5 a.m. this morning, to sign up for a lottery. There are about 8,000 doses available this week. People signing up will be able to pick one of the vaccination spots.

The longer signup period and the lottery selection system will prevent the kind of online congestion and uncertainty that occurred last week. Let’s see how this system works, and if there needs to be more changes next week.

The real solution to this pandemonium will come when there are sufficient supplies of the vaccines to meet the demand. Unfortunately, we may be months away from that.

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