Dec 6, 2021 - News

Minnesota leads most of nation in booster shots

Percentage of adult Minnesotans with...
Data: CDC; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Minnesota is beating most of the nation when it comes to booster shots, but there's work to be done.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain high and Omicron is here.

  • While many questions about the new variant remain unanswered, experts say vaccines, including booster shots six months out, are still our best bet at preventing severe illness and death.

By the numbers: About 1.1 million booster and third doses — enough for more than 30% of the state's adult population — have been administered since late October.

  • That's good enough to rank the state second in the country, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yes, but: Millions of eligible Minnesotans still haven't gotten a booster. That could be a problem as studies have shown that the vaccine efficacy wanes over time.

  • "It's now abundantly clear we all need the boosters," Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told Axios' Tina Reed.

Of note: A booster isn't a guarantee against contracting coronavirus. Breakthrough cases occur and we don’t yet know how effective the shots are against the new variant.

  • Minnesota's first known case of Omicron was a man who had received a booster in early November.
  • But experts believe the shots will still provide some important protection.

What to watch: State officials saw an uptick in booster demand even before Omicron was detected in the U.S., which they attributed to the mid-November move to expand eligibility to all and the CDC updating its guidance to say all eligible adults should get the extra dose.

  • Detection of the new variant, which is believed to be even more transmissible than Delta, could drive even more people to seek the added layer of protection.

What they're saying: While many booster appointment slots at major pharmacy chains across the metro appeared to be fully booked, state officials said there's no shortage of shots.

  • "We have asked for additional vaccines from our federal partners and they have provided that for us. So our vaccine supplies are in a very good place to handle the demand," Minnesota Department of Health's Kris Ehresmann said Wednesday.

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