Feb 19, 2021 - News
The timeline for getting a vaccine in Minnesota
Illustration of a waiting ticket with the number 19 on it and a symbol of a syringe. 
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

All Minnesotans, regardless of age, occupation or health conditions, can now sign up to be notified when they can make an appointment to get a COVID vaccination.

  • But, but, but: Unless you're a teacher, senior or health care worker, it will likely still be a while.

Driving the news: The new state registry, released yesterday, comes as the Biden administration pledges to drastically ramp up vaccine supply in the months ahead.

  • President Biden said on Tuesday that all Americans should be able to get a shot by July.
  • Yes, but: At the current pace, we wouldn't vaccinate all adults in the state until December, per MPR News' data guru David Montgomery.

What they're saying: "We still need to see the details about the when and how the production is going to ramp up and what it's going to translate to here at the state level," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters yesterday.

  • "[But] if we're looking at a mid-summer timeline [for vaccinating everyone], that's a lot better news than late into the fall."

State of play: More than 728,000 residents — 17% of those 18-plus — have gotten their first dose. About 286,000 are fully vaccinated. While other states have expanded eligibility, providers here remain narrowly focused on a few core groups:

  • About 38% of seniors 65 and older have gotten a vaccine so far and the goal is for all to have access by the end of March, Malcolm said yesterday. Long-term care residents should be done even sooner.
  • About 25% of the state's 235,000 educators are at least partially vaccinated, per MPR News. Gov. Tim Walz says the "bulk" of teachers should have access by March 8, though it's unclear whether that's realistic.
  • MDH hasn't provided a recent update on health care workers, but Montgomery estimates that at least half have one shot. Cases among such workers are down considerably.

What's next: Supply should increase again next week, to closer to 100,000 doses a week, allowing even more people to get an appointment.

  • But Malcolm said there are still questions about the exact number of doses in the shipments — and whether inclement weather across the country will cause more delays.
  • Meanwhile, discussions about who should be included in the next batches of eligible residents are ongoing.

Between the lines: The sign-up for the registry includes more than a dozen fields, including questions about race, job and sexual orientation and whether you'd be available at short notice.

  • Officials don't plan to use the answers to prioritize certain demographics within eligible groups for appointments at this time, but Malcolm said the data will be "helpful in making sure that we know who is getting vaccinated" and determining whether they need additional outreach targeting certain groups.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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