Mar 4, 2021 - News

Minnesota eyes an even faster vaccine rollout

Photo: Johnny Milano/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses started to arrive in Minnesota Wednesday, giving a much-needed boost to the state's vaccine rollout.

Why it matters: Something like normalcy could be here faster than anticipated. Gov. Tim Walz signaled optimism about planning a June wedding. And he said the "brass ring is pretty grabbable" for the State Fair.

Driving the news: Walz said that, even with a dip in shipments expected next week due to manufacturing constraints, we should soon ramp up to 200,000 doses a week.

  • That increased supply would allow the state to "significantly beat" its end-of-March goal for vaccinating at least 70% of seniors — and open appointments to the next eligible groups even faster.
  • As supply picks up, we'll also need infrastructure and systems in place to administer the doses.
  • Walz signed a bill Wednesday allowing dentists to administer the vaccines.

The state of play: At the current pace, we're on target to get 80% of adults one shot by late June, MPR News' David Montgomery projects.

  • Doubling the doses per day would get us to herd immunity by May.

A caveat: While case numbers remain stable, the governor still won't commit to a timeline for further lifting restrictions, given COVID variants.

  • He's consulting public health leaders, including modeling experts at the Mayo Clinic, "to figure out if we can outrace this thing with vaccinations."

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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