MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Tuesday that the state is expanding the launch of the vaccine to include more Minnesotans, as the goal of vaccinating 70% of older people was reached weeks ahead of schedule.
Due to an increase in the federal government’s supply of vaccines, Minnesotans in the next two phases of the launch, more than 1.8 million people, will be eligible for the vaccine as of Wednesday. These groups include Minnesotans with underlying health problems and certain essential workers.
Here is a breakdown of those for the following two phases:
Phase 1b Level 2
– Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions: sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome, people undergoing cancer treatment or immunosuppressed by organ transplantation, oxygen-dependent chronic heart and lung conditions.
– Target essential workers: workers in food processing plants.
– Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk for serious diseases.
Phase 1b Level 3
– Minnesotans age 45 and older with one or more underlying medical conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control.
– Minnesotans 16 years of age or older with two or more underlying medical conditions.
– Minnesotans age 50 and older in multi-generational housing. These are defined as households where people of two or more generations reside, such as an elderly person and a grandchild.
– Essential frontline workers: agricultural personnel, airport personnel, additional child care workers who were previously ineligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, court system workers, manufacturing, public health, public transportation and US Postal Service workers.
Minnesotans are encouraged to sign up for the state’s Vaccine Connector, which will alert users when they are eligible and tell them where they can get vaccinated. In some circumstances, health care providers and employers will provide people with more information about where to get a vaccination.
At the end of last month, officials projected that 70% of older people would have been vaccinated by the end of March. After that, the release was set to expand. But due to an increase in vaccine supply and distribution of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the state’s schedule has moved ahead well ahead of schedule. Still, the initial timeline suggested that all Minnesota adults could get a vaccine by the summer.
The governor is expected to speak about the implementation plan update at 9:30 am Tuesday. Watch WCCO-TV and CBSN Minnesota for an update.
Since December, more than 1.6 million doses of vaccines have been administered in Minnesota, and more than half a million Minnesotans have received the two shots needed for the Pfizer and Modera vaccines.