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For months, eight Minnesota counties stood out from the rest when looking at vaccination rate. They were the only counties in the state in which fewer than half of all eligible residents (everyone ages 12 and up) had received a single vaccine dose — meaning the unvaccinated outnumbered the immunized.

That has started to change.

Six of those counties have crossed the 50% threshold recently, meaning at least half of all residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Those counties are:

  • Wadena — 51.2%
  • Pine — 51.3%
  • Kanabec — 51.5%
  • Morrison — 52.4%
  • Mille Lacs — 52.7%
  • Meeker — 54.8%

Now just two counties remain short of that mark: Clearwater at 46.4% and Todd at 49.6%.

Statewide, 3,476,404 people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine — that's 73.9% of the 12-and-up population. 

Related: Minnesota launches vaccine information website for kids ages 5-11

Of course, federal health officials this week expanded vaccine access to children ages 5-11, with the CDC approving the Pfizer shot for kids in that age range. Health care providers have been offering appointments in anticipation of such an announcement.

Demand, initially, might be high, with parents quickly scooping up all available vaccine appointments at Mall of America Wednesday. Gov. Tim Walz, however, has expressed confidence that the wait won't be long for parents, previously saying more than 1,100 providers in Minnesota stand ready to begin administering vaccine doses to younger children.

After signs the pandemic may be waning during the latter half of October, the state is beginning to trend the other way once again. Wednesday's figures showed 43 newly reported deaths (including one patient in their 20s and two in their 30s), with COVID hospitalizations creeping back above 1,000. 

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