Out with mini donuts, in with vaccines

Hamline strongly encourages the community to sign up for Minnesota Vaccine Connector with the newest vaccination site at the State Fairgrounds.


Audra Grigus
The Minnesota State Fair is usually the center of carnival rides and delicious fried food, but starting on April 14 the fairgrounds will operate as a COVID-19 vaccination site. According to Gov. Walz, Pfzer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be distributed over eight weeks.

Anika Besst, Senior Reporter

Vaccine distribution in Minnesota is now open to everyone 16 and older, and Hamline students have options to get vaccinated. 

Hamline was named a vaccine site in December 2020 but has not yet received any vaccines largely due to challenges including lower prioritization of higher education communities, staffing, temperature control and questions about medical liability insurance for staff. 

Jenny Kluznik, Public Health PA, and Jodi Metz, director of Health Services, have been in communication with the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Ramsey County Public Health about setting up a vaccine site on campus. 

No official documentation has been shared with Metz at this time, but she has received word through contacts and colleagues at other schools that the State of Minnesota, MDH, and local public health counties and coalitions are unlikely to distribute vaccines to higher ed institutions, especially in the metro area. 

“We will absolutely continue to prepare for the event that things change as well as pursue other avenues to bring vaccines to campus. Right now, this means reaching out to pharmacies that are hosting clinics,” Metz said. “The bottom line is that we do not know if or when Hamline will be allocated COVID-19 vaccine for distribution.”

On April 4 the federal government and the State of Minnesota announced that the Minnesota State Fairgrounds will open for vaccinations starting on April 14. Due to how close this location is to Hamline, just over a mile away, this could affect the university from receiving vaccinations. 

Health Services strongly encourages students, faculty and staff who wish to receive the vaccine to register with the Minnesota Vaccine Connector. Those living in the zip codes eligible through the fairgrounds vaccination site, which includes on-campus students, are especially encouraged. 

The goal of any vaccination event is accessibility. We want to do all we can to make sure as many people as possible have the ability to easily get to a location where they can receive a vaccine,” said Melinda Heikkinen, COVID-19 coordinator.  “The upcoming event at the fairgrounds…is focused on providing access to vaccines to folks from specific ZIP code that may have had difficulty getting to other sites. The Midway Hamline area is included.” 

If vaccines are allocated to Hamline, many factors would affect the timing and physical location on campus, but it would likely be held similarly to how the flu shot clinics or COVID-19 testing events have worked, according to Metz. 

It would also be a requirement to provide the surrounding community access to any vaccines. 

“While we understand the reasons for this, it has also been one of the main barriers to obtaining the vaccine for the Hamline community,” Metz said. “Counseling & Health Services does not provide services to the public or even to Hamline employees, we do not have the technology infrastructure or staffing in place to schedule appointments for anyone other than Hamline students.”

Health services will continue to share information on how to directly schedule an appointment as it becomes available. 


ZIP codes eligible for the State Fairgrounds site:


55454, 55103, 55130, 55411, 55404, 55117, 55428, 55119, 55107, 55106, 55407, 55430, 55412, 55102, 55429, 55421, 55104, 55114, 55432, 55118, 55420, 55413, 55402, 55109, 55406, 55423, 55415, 55405, 55408, 55425, 55112, 55111, 55403, 55101, 55344, 55435, 55113, 55458.