Minnesota is set to receive its first supply of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna, in addition to the doses that have already arrived from Pfizer/BioNTech.
Moderna became the second pharma company to receive FDA approval for the COVID-19 vaccine, and the first set of doses will arrive in Minnesota on Wednesday.
The Minnesota Department of Health's director of infectious disease Kris Ehresmann said Minnesota is expecting 94,800 doses of the vaccine this week.
And the first places that will get the Moderna vaccine will be residents and staff at Minnesota's long-term care facilities, who are in the highest priority group for the vaccine along with healthcare workers.
Despite an initial "hiccup," as Walz described, with the distribution of the Pfizer product, Minnesota has received its initial 46,000-dose allocation of the vaccine over the past week, with the federal government holding the same number in reserve so those vaccinated already can get the second dose in a few weeks' time.
It was also revealed by Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm Tuesday that so far, 2,999 healthcare workers in Minnesota have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Just a few days before Christmas, Walz once again said there is light at the end of the tunnel, but urged Minnesotans not to be complacent and encouraged them "to do what you've been doing."
"Do the best you can to mask, social distance, wash your hands," he said. "We have the testing capacity out there, and I urge you to use it."
"As we move into next phase we need to make sure don't let our guard down," he continued, saying this is crucial in order to safely bring kids back into school, resume youth sports, and get restaurants and bars reopened.
Prioritized for the vaccine are healthcare workers and long-term care residents, with the state expecting to get everyone in this "1A" group vaccinated by the end of January.
Then it is expected to start vaccinating group 1B – frontline essential workers and those aged 75 and above – in late January, depending on supply.