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Minnesota's weekly vaccine allotment is about to accelerate dramatically

Minnesota could soon go from around 150,000 doses per week to 350,000.

Minnesota's vaccination progress is about to speed up significantly as Gov. Tim Walz said Friday the state will soon be getting "upwards" of 350,000 doses per week from the federal government. 

"We're really accelerating," Walz told Dave Lee on WCCO Radio. "The state's getting about 150,000 doses a week now, but on the 29th of this month we'll be upwards of 350,000 – the White House informed the governors last week."

For context, a boost to 350,000 shots per week would essentially double the 172,390 doses Minnesota received this week, which would accelerate the pace of Minnesotans being vaccinated. 

As of March 16, approximately 1.3 million Minnesotans have had at least one dose of the vaccine, with an additional 764,000 people completing the vaccine series. That's a total of just over 2 million Minnesotans who have received some level of vaccine. 

That leaves approximately 3.6 million Minnesotans unvaccinated. At a pace of 350,000 shots per week, those 3.6 million Minnesotans could conceivable receive their first shot sometime in the next two and a half months. 

Minnesota reached its goal of vaccinating 70% of residents aged 65 and older about three weeks earlier than expected, prompting the state last week to open vaccine eligibility to 1.8 million more Minnesotans who are in Phase 1B, Tiers 2 and 3 of the state's vaccination plan. 

Phase 1B, Tier 2:

  • Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions: sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, those in cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, oxygen-dependent chronic lung and heart conditions (COPD and CHF)
  • Food processing plant workers
  • Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness

Phase 1B, Tier 3:

  • People 45-64 with one or more specific underlying medical conditions (sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, or oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, active cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, obesity and pregnancy)
  • People 16-44 with two or more specific underlying medical conditions (sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, or oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, active cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, obesity and pregnancy)
  • People 50 and older who live in multi-generational housing
  • Other essential frontline workers, including agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail (grocery and convenience store workers), food service (including bar and restaurant workers), judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, Postal Service workers

Walz indicated during the Friday interview that the state could move to the next phase of the vaccination strategy. 

"I think we're about ready to put the next group in," he said. That would mean people age 16 and old with underlying health conditions, and everyone age 50-64 regardless of health conditions. 

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 9.57.46 AM

Meanwhile, Walz remains in quarantine after a possible exposure to a COVID-positive staff member. 

"I'm with some grumpy teenagers right now, but it's fine," Walz joked about being in quarantine. "I'm still testing negative for it." 

In the same interview, Walz said he's currently on jury duty in Ramsey County, saying he's signed up and doing his required daily call-in. 

He also said it's likely that Minnesota will push the state tax filing deadline to May 17, which would match the now-extended federal tax deadline. 

"We're having that discussion," Walz said. "I think that makes sense. You try and conform with federal law when you can." 

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