A mobile pharmacy sits in front of a boarded-up Walgreens in south Minneapolis. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

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As Minneapolis, the country, and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, pharmacies and health providers across the Twin Cities are bracing for potential civil unrest. 

For many health clinics and pharmacies in south Minneapolis and around the metro, a repeat of last summer’s unrest would come with new complications because they are administering COVID-19 vaccines every day. Last summer, more than a dozen pharmacies were damaged during the unrest following George Floyd’s killing, while more than 100 closed temporarily. Some pharmacies and health clinics burned down completely

Sahan Journal checked in with a few clinics and pharmacies to see how they’re preparing for potential unrest following a verdict, and how they intend to continue offering basic health services should operations get interrupted. Most said they’re going about business as usual for now, monitoring the situation and making contingency plans. 

With the Derek Chauvin verdict pending, we’ll be updating this story throughout the week with information about clinic closings, patient rescheduling, vaccine appointments, and more. If you’re a caregiver or a health provider, please send us your tips and information to jpeters@sahanjournal.com; or DM me on Twitter: @JoeyPeters.

Moving some appointments online

M Health Fairview, which has multiple clinic locations across the metro and hospitals on the University of Minnesota campus, is planning on moving some appointments scheduled at the end of the day this week to online visits. Fairview spokesperson Aimee Jordan said the health system is notifying all patients affected. She added that as of now, no vaccine clinics are changing. 

“We are continually balancing patient access and patient safety,” Jordan said. 

Boarding up windows

The People’s Center Clinics and Services, a federally qualified health center in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, is keeping all appointments scheduled and still planning to hold its weekly vaccine clinic this Friday at the Bryan Coyle Community Center. 

“We are boarding up windows as a precaution,” People’s Center spokesperson Paula Guinn said. 

Should it need to close the clinic’s physical location this week, the People’s Center will move appointments to telehealth. 

Planning for mobile clinics

The Community-University Health Care Center, another federally qualified health center in the Ventura Village neighborhood in south Minneapolis, similarly has emergency plans on hand to switch existing appointments online and over the phone if the clinic needs to close. 

CUHCC will also make up for any missed care, including vaccine distribution, through mobile clinic events, according to Sara Bolnick, the clinic’s director of advancement. As of now, that won’t need to happen.

“We are monitoring events and doing all we can to keep our doors open to avoid a disruption of services and care,” Bolnick said. 

Walgreens pharmacies throughout the metro also have contingency plans on hand. A corporate spokesperson said the pharmacy chain is monitoring the situation and, should vaccine appointments need to be moved to another store, “we would immediately and proactively reach out to impacted patients to reschedule the same day.”

Joey Peters

Joey Peters is a reporter for Sahan Journal. His work has appeared in Reuters, Public Radio International, Columbia Journalism Review, KFAI Radio, the Pioneer Press, City Pages, MinnPost and more. He previously...