Legislature receives an update on vaccination planning and rollout

This week the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy and Health and Human Services Committees heard updates on Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. This week Minnesota has been steadily working through Phase 1a of vaccinations, which includes health care workers and long-term care residents and staff. Over 150,000 doses have been administered so far and thousands have already received their second dose. A new vaccine data dashboard gives an overview of how many vaccines have been distributed and administered throughout the state.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made some game-changing vaccine announcements. After a request from Governor Walz and eight other governors, HHS announced they would be releasing millions of vaccine doses that were being withheld.  They also indicated the next priority group should be individuals 65 and older, as well as those aged 18-64 with chronic underlying health conditions. This would be a significant addition to the priority phases the state was planning for, which included essential frontline workers and adults aged 75+ in the next group.

More vaccine supply would help this process move faster, but at this point, no additional doses have been made available to the state. We need the federal government to provide more detail about the supply of vaccine available for Minnesota and when it will arrive. The state is ready to take on more doses of vaccine, but until then, we’re still working with an extremely limited allocation of around 60,000 doses each week. Vaccine administration has been getting faster and more efficient, but it’s important to be deliberate and do this right so that vaccine is not wasted or mishandled. As more doses become available and providers can vaccinate more people each day, things will go faster.

We all know how important it is to move through COVID-19 vaccinations as quickly and as safely as possible so we can all return to a more normal life. As the Minnesota Department of Health and vaccine advisory partners sort through the shifting federal guidance and learn more from the new Biden administration, Senate DFLers will work closely with state health officials and partners at the local level to communicate where we are throughout this process and provide as much information as possible.

Minnesotans can check mn.gov/vaccine for the latest information.