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Brunswick employees help lead vaccine push in Otter Tail County

According to the Minnesota Department of Health's vaccine dashboard, over 14,000 out of 47,000 people who are eligible to get the shot are fully vaccinated.

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Paul Mindermann, who works in the engineering department for the Brunswick boat plant in New York Mills, Minn., gets his Johnson & Johnson shot during a vaccine clinic on Thursday, April 8. Norman Bell / WDAY
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NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. — About 90 out of roughly 500 employees from Brunswick, a manufacturing plant that makes Lund boats, walked just a block away from their offices to City Hall to get in line for a shot in the arm against COVID-19.

"It's just a positive push forward to get back to normal life," said Paul Mindermann, who works in the engineering department for Brunswick.

Otter Tail County Public Health officials gave out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Brunswick employees in New York Mills, Minn., Thursday, April 8. Brian Hines, the New York Mills branch's vice president of operations, said that's convenient since workers only need one Johnson & Johnson shot.

"This (clinic) kicks things off in the county," Hines said. "Right now, we got 70 spokespeople that can go out and say, 'Hey, the shot was fine, it doesn't even hurt.'"

Brunswick employees help lead vaccine push in Otter Tail County

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Brunswick's New York Mills plant shut down when the pandemic started last March, which had workers such as Patrick Veazie worried about how they could all get back up and running again.

"(It was) quite nerve-racking when we first came back that we didn't know what was going on really, (and) how safe we were to be at work even," Veazie said.

Much like the team of Marvel superheroes Veazie wore on his shirt, he and his coworkers said they're glad to team up and help make the push toward immunity, and make sure more boats are put on the water this summer.

"It's nice to see everyone stepping up and taking care of (the shot) right away," Mindermann said. "It's readily available now, so might as well just do it."

Hines said the company plans on taking part in the Johnson & Johnson clinics coming up in both May and June, but the number of employees that will go to it will depend on vaccine availability.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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