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VA nurse is the first in Twin Cities to get COVID-19 vaccine

Thera Witte is a nurse at the Minneapolis VA.
Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 10.40.17 AM

The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Twin Cities has been administered to a VA nurse named Thera Witte.

Witte found herself front of the line for the shot Tuesday morning, as Minnesota started administering its first batch of the Pfizer vaccine.

A nurse at the Minneapolis VA in the COVID unit, Witte and all Minnesotans who get the vaccine will need to receive two doses 21 days apart to achieve full effectiveness.

Speaking at a press conference after receiving the dose, Witte said that being first in the metro was "pure luck," saying: "I just happened to have the first appointment!"

She isn't the first in the state however, with 10 health care staff at Cass Lake Indian Health Services receiving it on Monday, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.

Also in attendance at the VA on Tuesday was Gov. Tim Walz, who said that as well as the shipment to the Minneapolis VA, similar shipments have arrived in Bemidji and in Olmsted County, with a further five arriving in the state later on Tuesday.,

"Minnesotans, you can rest assured that the professionals making this happen have done this at the highest level, and that these vaccines are no longer waiting to go, they are ready to go," he said.

The Pfizer vaccine is 52% effective after the first dose, with the second dose three weeks later bringing the effectiveness up to 95%.

As more doses of the Pfizer, and later the Moderna vaccine, arrive in Minnesota, they will be distributed to hubs across the state, which will then disperse them to clinics and care facilities at the local level.

Minnesota is expected to receive enough doses for 183,500 people by the end of the month. 

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