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New state website for COVID-19 vaccine sees rocky start

Plus: some teachers may be in line for COVID-19 vaccine this week; Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s drop MyPillow; effort tackles vaccine fears in St. Cloud Somali community; and more.

A hospital employee receiving a dose of the Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, California.
A hospital employee receiving a dose of the Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, California.
REUTERS/Bing Guan

Plenty of demand. KARE reports:The website set up to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments as part of a state of Minnesota pilot program appeared to falter out of the gates for some users Tuesday, as did special phone lines set up to make appointments. … A number of KARE 11 employees attempted to access the website, which was set up for eligible Minnesotans to make appointments. It was scheduled to open for appointments at noon, and while some received error messages and were not able to access appointment links, others got through and were able to make appointments to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Which is to say, they’re being sent back into classrooms this week unvaccinated. Also from KARE: “Starting later this week, some educators and teachers will get expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines, through a pilot program announced by Gov. Tim Walz. … “Certainly,” District 728 Superintendent Dan Bittman said, “it’s a game-changer for those who are interested in getting the vaccinations.” … But Bittman, whose district covers Elk River and parts of the northwest Metro, knows the vaccinations for all teachers won’t happen overnight. As districts begin implementing their vaccination plans, they’ll have to work with a very limited supply, which Walz lamented in his news conference on Monday.”

You hate to see it. CNBC’s Lauren Thomas reports: “MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has repeated false claims that President Donald Trump did not lose the election, said retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s are removing his company’s products from their stores. … Trump’s supporters on social media platforms are now calling for boycotts of the retailers, while other consumers are urging people to not purchase MyPillow products. … ‘I just got off the phone with Bed Bath & Beyond,’ Lindell said during an interview Monday evening with the Right Side Broadcasting Network. ‘They’re dropping MyPillow.’”

Vaccine reluctance in the St. Cloud Somali community. MPR’s Kirsti Marohn reports: “Mohayadin Mohamed knows firsthand the devastating impacts of the coronavirus. … The Islamic Center of St. Cloud, where he is president, was shut down for several months earlier this year due to pandemic restrictions. Members were unable to gather at the mosque for daily prayers or educational classes. … The virus spread quickly in his close-knit community. Many members of the mosque, including several imams and Mohamed himself, got sick. … So he believes it’s important that people get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available to them. But he also knows that in his community, there’s deep distrust around vaccinations that predates the current pandemic, and questions already are swirling.

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