ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) — Thursday, marked one year since the first COVID-19 patient in Minnesota developed symptoms.
Now, with 7% of the state fully vaccinated. Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are easing into the next vaccination phase.
In January, the state allowed health care workers and long-term care facility residents to be the first in the state to receive the vaccine.
Soon after, Pre-K to 12th-grade teachers, child care workers, and people aged 65 years and older were eligible to be vaccinated.
The state says believes 70% of people 65 years old or older should be fully vaccinated by the end of March. After that, a new group of people becomes eligible.
“If they have Sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, are in active cancer treatment, are immunocompromised, specifically from solid organ transplants, or are oxygen dependent, chronic lung and heart condition suffers,” said Jan Malcolm, MDH Commissioner.
She said people in that group make up 75% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.
Also in that next group are food processing plant employees. They’re considered essential frontline workers.
“Around the country and here in Minnesota, these were some of the largest and most severe outbreaks that we saw. And we know that the population working in these plants are significantly BIPOC community members and people living in multi-generational households,” Malcolm said.
Following that group are people ages 45 to 65 with an underlying medical condition or people 18 to 44 with two underlying health conditions. Those conditions are:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Heart Conditions
- Immunocompromised state
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Along with them is a larger group of essential workers who work in he following fields.
- Correctional settings
- First responders
- Food production
- Food retail
- Food service
- Public transit
- U.S. Postal Service workers.
- Additional child care workers not previously eligible
“As well as people 50 years and older living in Multi-generation households will be vaccinated in this same time period,” Malcolm said.
After those groups get the vaccine, the next eligible group includes anyone else aged 50 to 65 and anyone 18 or older with one of those underlying health conditions.
Following those groups, all other essential workers are eligible for vaccination. They include:
- Transportation and logistics
- Housing/ shelter construction
- Public Safety
- Water and wastewater
“So by May/June timeframe, we will be to the point where we’re able to open the vaccine up to all Minnesotans having worked in a systematic way to those at greatest risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” Malcolm said.
Earlier this week, Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Abinash Virk said we’ll achieve herd immunity when between 60 and 80% of the population gets vaccinated.