(The Center Square) – On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility after reaching its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotan’s seniors.
The state will expand eligibility to the next two phases of Minnesotans, starting Wednesday.
Providers have been directed to prioritize people in the first of these phases, which includes Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions, food processing plant workers, and Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness.
“We asked most Minnesotans to wait patiently while we protected Minnesotans at higher risk and got shots to at least 70% of our seniors. We will hit that milestone on Wednesday – well ahead of schedule. More Minnesotans will now be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, beginning this week,” Walz said in a statement. “To reach 70% of seniors vaccinated is an incredible accomplishment in itself, but it’s not the end goal: we will continue moving full steam ahead until every Minnesotan who wants a shot gets one.”
Those aged 65 years or older represent nearly 90% of COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota.
More than 1.8 million Minnesotans will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning this week.
Phase 1b Tier 2 populations, including:
- 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 & CHF)
- Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
- Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness
Phase 1b Tier 3 populations, including:
- Minnesotans age 45 years and older with one or more underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC
- Minnesotans age 16 years and older with two or more underlying medical conditions*
- Minnesotans age 50 years and older in multi-generational housing
- Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, and U.S. Postal Service workers
The state recommends those interested in getting a vaccine sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector for regular updates.
Vaccine shipments from the federal government are increasing, but demand still exceeds supply.