MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday a pilot program that’ll launch this week to begin inoculating select educators, child care workers and Minnesotans ages 65 and older against COVID-19.
According to a release from the governor’s office, nine pilot sites will open this week, offering doses to prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, child care workers and Minnesotans ages 65 and older. The sites will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Because of the limited supply of the vaccine in Minnesota, only a small number of individuals in these now-eligible groups will receive doses. However, the program is expected to ramp up inoculations when more doses are supplied by the federal government.
“We are building for the future and doing what we can to get more shots to Minnesotans right now,” Walz said, in a statement. “By beginning to serve those age 65 and older, educators and child care workers, we are immunizing for impact. It’s a step in the right direction on this long road to recovery.”
Walz is expected to speak about this pilot program at at 2 p.m. news conference alongside health officials. That conference will be streamed live on CBSN Minnesota.
Additional information about the nine pilot program sites is expected to be released Tuesday. The governor’s statement stressed that appointments are required for anyone to be vaccinated at these sites. Those who are 65 and older are not advised to contact their healthcare providers. Instead, they are encouraged to wait until their providers contact them with information on setting up a vaccination appointment.
The change to Minnesota’s vaccine rollout came after federal officials updated their rollout guidelines last week to include people ages 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions. As for why teachers are included in Minnesota’s pilot program, that’s likely because many districts are aiming to have children back to in-person learning next month.
Over the last few weeks, Minnesota has prioritized vaccinating frontline health care workers and Minnesotans in long-term care facilities. These two groups — totaling around 500,000 people and known as Phase 1A — are on schedule to be vaccinated by the end of the month.
The vaccination of Phase 1A will continue as Minnesotans in the groups eligible as of Monday begin. Exact details on the Phase 1B rollout have yet to be announced.
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Source: CBS Minnesota