MN to wait until most seniors get vaccines before transitioning to other groups – Twin Cities | #television | #elderly | #movies
It may be late March before any new groups become eligible for coronavirus vaccine under plans Minnesota officials are expected to announce Thursday.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz plans to detail the state’s next steps for vaccinating residents against COVID-19 at 12:15 p.m. news conference Thursday.
A spokesman for the governor said new details will be provided about who will be eligible to be vaccinated once the state inoculates 70 percent of seniors. Health officials hope to reach that benchmark by the end of March.
Walz hinted at new guidelines during a news conference Tuesday focused on equitably distributing vaccines to communities of color and other historically underserved groups. His comments resulted in quick pushback from Republican lawmakers who urged that seniors be given priority until the majority are vaccinated.
Residents over the age of 65 account for 89 percent of Minnesota COVID-19 deaths. People of color have also been inordinately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health officials expressed hope Wednesday that vaccine allocations would continue to grow. A single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is expected to be considered for emergency approval by federal regulators as soon as Friday.
Late last year, Minnesota officials began administering the first doses to health care providers and those who live or work in long-term care. The state has since included adults 65 and older, as well as school employees and child care providers.
Minnesota has administered 1.14 million doses of vaccine and 42 percent of the state’s seniors have gotten at least their first dose. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the only two currently with emergency authorization, both require two shots for the best immune response.
More than 480,000 Minnesotans have caught the coronavirus and 97 percent have recovered enough they no longer need to be isolated. There are 6,443 Minnesotans who’ve died of COVID-19 including 4,040 long-term care residents.