Minnesotans Age 16+ Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Starting March 30
Minnesotans Age 16 and Older Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Starting March 30
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has announced that all Minnesotans age 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting Tuesday, March 30. Walz made the announcement Friday and is posted on his YouTube page.
“The final eligibility expansion comes as the federal government has promised an increased supply of vaccine by April, and as Minnesota has become a national leader in getting shots into arms quickly,” said a statement provided to CCX News by the governor’s office.
Despite making the vaccine eligible to all Minnesotans 16 and older, the Walz administration will direct health care providers to prioritize vaccine appointments for older Minnesotans, those with underlying health conditions and those who have jobs that puts them at greater risk for COVID-19.
Major Increase in Doses Expected
Minnesota Department of Health officials said that they expect close to 304,000 first doses of vaccine the first full week of April. This is slightly less than double what Minnesota is currently receiving. The doses include Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They also pointed out that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still awaiting FDA approval for large-scale manufacturing, but approval is expected.
“J&J [allocations] might be a bit bumpy for next couple of weeks,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
It’s important to note that the two-dose Moderna vaccine is available to people 18 and older. Only the two-dose Pfizer version is available to people ages 16 and up.
The expansion of vaccination eligibility comes as the state’s seven-day average case rate has climbed to 4.7 percent, the highest since Jan. 22. The increase is attributed to variants of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Health officials said Thursday that they expect the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, to be the predominant strain in the U.S. B.1.1.7 is a more infectious strain and known to cause more serious illness. Vaccines have shown efficacy against this strain, officials said.
“We are in a race between the variants and the vaccine,” said Malcolm.