Gov. Walz says announcement on next COVID vaccine priority groups will come soon

In a "short time," the governor expects to be able to give all Minnesotans an approximate date for when they'll be able to get the vaccine.
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Gov. Tim Walz is expected to soon announce who is next in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

During a news conference Tuesday touting the state's vaccination efforts, the governor said he'll share the new COVID-19 vaccine priority groups in the near future, "hopefully" as soon as the end of this week or early next week.

Taking into account the federal government's plans for vaccine allotments, Walz says "in a short time" the state will be able to give everyone an approximate date of when they'll be able to get the COVID vaccine based on their age and health conditions. 

The state has only announced Phase 1A of its vaccination plan. In this priority group are health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. 

Health officials have also prioritized vaccinating Minnesotans age 65 and older, as well as teachers and childcare workers. 

Walz and state health officials haven't said which groups he would prioritize, with many groups (grocery store clerks and other essential workers) and advocates (those for people with special needs, among others), calling for them to be next in line. 

But the administration did say they'll announce the next priority group or groups before senior citizens are fully vaccinated. 

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State data show nearly 42% of those 65 and older have at least one dose of the vaccine. Walz said once 60-80% of that group is vaccinated, they'll likely be ready to move into the next phase. 

"There's 65-year-olds that are healthy and are simply not standing in line yet," Walz told reporters. "We want them to get it, but we can't hold up giving it to others while we are waiting for somebody to decide whether they're going to take it."

Meanwhile, the AARP sent a letter to Walz criticizing the state's vaccine rollout, saying older Minnesotans are confused and having trouble navigating how to sign up to get a shot. 

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