Minnesota will likely receive its first shipment of COViD-19 vaccines the week of Dec. 14, but it'll be a limited supply that has forced federal and state governments to prioritize and sub-prioritize who is first in line to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine will be available to Minnesotans in what health department Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann called a "phased approach," starting with the first group, which will be broken into three sub groups due to not enough vaccine being immediately available. The sub groups are:
- 1a: Health care personnel, long-term care residents
- 1b: Essential workers: Education, food & agriculture, utilities, police, firefighters, corrections officers, transportation
- 1c Adults with high-risk medical conditions, adults aged 65+
Group 1a is itself split into three sub-groups, with the first including all personnel working in hospital COVID-19 units, emergency rooms and COVID-19-related urgent care clinics.
It also includes people working or living in long-term care facilities, people working at testing facilities and those providing vaccinations.
1A sub-group two includes hospital staff providing direct patient care, those handling infectious materials, all staff working in assisted living or home care, employees of urgent care clinics, staff at dialysis centers, and residents living in assisted living or veterans homes.
1a sub group three includes all remaining health care workers that were not included in the first and second priority groups, which will include those working in outpatient clinics and dental offices, along with the remaining residents of congregate care settings.
Moving from one priority group to the next will be dependent on vaccine supply.
The first month of vaccine delivery from the federal government will feature 136,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and at least 46,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine, both of which have tested out at 94% effective. That's a total of 183,400 people receiving the vaccine in the first four weeks.
But that's where an issue of vaccine supply arises. Ehresmann said there about 500,000 Minnesotans who fall into the first group (1a, 1b, 1c), including approximately 298,000 Minnesotans who work in high-risk health care settings or live/work in long-term care facilities.
"Our goal is to immunize for impact. We want to make sure we're vaccinating where it will do the most good," Ehresmann said.
The vaccines will be distributed to 25 hubs around the state. From there, the 25 hubs will redistribute the vaccines to 118 different locations in Minnesota. It's important to note that there is not a specific pharmacy, hospital or clinic where people can go get the vaccine. That's a future step.
For now, employers will contact those who are first eligible to receive the vaccine, and specific information about where people go for the vaccine will be provided in that message.
More information for remaining Minnesotans is anticipated in the coming weeks, though vaccinations are projected to go well into 2021.