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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State officials say President Biden's pledge to complete 100 million coronavirus vaccinations in his first 100 days could result in the state getting enough doses to come close to hitting herd immunity in the coming months.

Why it matters: If successful, it could mean returning to a state more closely resembling normalcy this summer. But getting there would require a big lift.

Driving the news: "We're racing the clock to get 3 million people vaccinated as quickly as we can," Gov. Tim Walz said Friday, referencing the state's herd immunity goal.

  • He projected the state could get enough shots for a big chunk of those residents if Biden follows through. That's on top of the roughly 250,000 Minnesotans who have already received at least one dose.

But, but, but ... Reaching that goal by late spring or even summer would require a big increase in weekly vaccine shipments and doses administered. And the state's initial rollout has been criticized by some as too slow, too rigid and hampered by communication and distribution issues.

  • We currently trail 35 states and Washington, D.C., in doses administered per 100K residents, per the CDC, raising questions about whether the state could deliver on such a promise even if supply goes up.
  • At the current rate, it could take until October 2022 to vaccinate 80% of Minnesotans 16 and older, per MPR News' David Montgomery. Hitting that 3 million goal by summer would require quadrupling recent daily shot totals.

What's next: Walz expects more details from the Biden administration this week. The state may hold off on announcing which groups will come next until leaders get a better sense of upcoming supply.

  • Legislative Republicans and pharmacies, meanwhile, urged MDH to lean more heavily on existing health systems, which already have appointment and billing processes in place. "Let’s play to that strength," state Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) told Axios.

1 hopeful thing: MDH said Friday that 80% of residents at skilled-nursing facilities have received at least one dose.

Go deeper

How Tampa Bay is managing unused COVID vaccines

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

With so much anxiety surrounding how hard it is to get the coronavirus vaccine, a question has been lingering in many of our minds: What happens when people don't show up for their shots?

The big picture: A relatively small amount — 3,444 doses, or 0.1% of the 3 million vaccines the state has received — has been wasted.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

5 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.