The article below is a top story from this week's ACTION newsletter—Care Providers of Minnesota's weekly newsletter for members. The newsletter focuses on current legislative issues, regulations, long-term care trends, and other Association news. Each Thursday evening, it is delivered to your inbox. To sign up for ACTION, contact Lisa Foss Olson (952-851-2483). To learn more about membership, visit our Become a Member page.
Vaccine eligibility expansion issues
By Patti Cullen, CAE | April 2, 2021 | All members
Governor Walz announced last week a significant expansion to vaccine eligibility. As of Tuesday, March 30, 2021, anyone 16 years of age or older will be eligible to be vaccinated. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will still encourage vaccinators to prioritize by health condition and work sector as the state expands eligibility: “We want to continue to ‘Immunize for impact.” This expansion is intended to ensure that we can continue to vaccinate at steady pace as we continue to see variant spread in Minnesota with corresponding increasing case counts.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring these variants of concern (VOC). These variants have mutations in the virus genome that alter the characteristics and cause the virus to act differently in ways that are significant to public health (e.g., causes more severe disease, spreads more easily between humans, requires different treatments, changes the effectiveness of current vaccines). You can see from the map on this website page, Minnesota has a significant number of COVID-19 variant cases.
It is important to note that even though the eligibility for vaccines has expanded this week, the state is not receiving an increase in vaccine allocations at this time. We expect that vaccine allocations will increase significantly in April. The new groups of people eligible for vaccinations starting this week total an estimated 1.15 million people, or all of Minnesota's remaining residents 16 or older. These 1.15 million new people are becoming eligible before Minnesota finished vaccinating the 1.8 million people in the last group. Minnesota has only given a first shot to around 350,000 people since the last eligibility expansion on March 10.
Unlike the last expansion, launched when Minnesota reached its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of seniors, this is more of a proactive expansion expecting many more vaccines coming soon. Minnesota has been averaging between 20,000 and 25,000 first doses per day for weeks now. Starting in early April, the state expects to get more than 300,000 first doses per week, enough to give around 43,000 first doses per day, about an 80 percent increase.
Minnesota continues to make progress toward our goal of reaching 80% of our population with vaccine—but it will take a number of weeks to achieve our goal. Here is the information from the MN Vaccine locator website.
Patti Cullen, CAE | President/CEO | firstname.lastname@example.org | 952-851-2487