It's not as much as Minnesota or any state needs, but the Biden Administration on Tuesday promised to send an extra 11,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Minnesota and every other state for at least the next three weeks.
That's a 16% increase from the fewer than 70,000 doses Minnesota has been receiving weekly from the Centers for Disease Control, which Gov. Tim Walz says is "refreshing and encouraging" considering Minnesota has had an "extraordinary demand for the vaccine."
Minnesota remains focused on vaccinating healthcare workers, long-term care residents, people aged 65 and older, along with teachers and child care workers.
Fifteen-thousand vaccine doses will be injected into the arms of Twin Cities-area teachers and child care workers at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul later this week through Feb. 1, a move that will serve as a safeguard for PreK-5 educators who will be returning to classrooms for 100% in-person instruction in the coming days and weeks.
Along with the 15,000 doses for teachers and child care, the state is in its second week of vaccinating priority populations at nine pilot sites throughout the state, though a limited supply means that only 9,425 doses are available at those pilot sites this week while nearly 230,000 Minnesotans aged 65 and older pre-registered.
“The fact is, we still need more doses. We’re working hard to get the shots we have on hand to the people of Minnesota. Now, the federal government needs to provide even more vaccine," Gov. Walz said.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he's "confident" that the U.S. will be "well on our way to heading toward herd immunity" by summer. According to the University of Minnesota's Center for Disease Research and Policy, "at least 40% and as much as 80% of the U.S. population will need to be vaccinated against the virus before herd immunity is achieved."
The American Public Media Research Lab reports that only 5% of the U.S. population has received at least one of the two doses required for full vaccine efficacy.
Through Jan. 24 there have been 284,441 Minnesotans who have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 67,567 people have completed both doses, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.