MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota reported more than 4,500 new cases on Wednesday, and 82 people died as a result of coronavirus. The daily positivity rate is 13%.

With the first COVID-19 vaccinations happening overseas, the Minnesota Department of Health is preparing to include daily vaccination updates along with their daily COVID updates.

“It’s a really significant development to know that safe vaccines do exist and they are on their way to us,” health commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

Malcolm compared the vaccine to a fire hose used to battle a very large fire, one that she says still needs to be contained with mask-wearing and social distancing. People living in long-term care and health care workers will be the first to get the vaccine in Minnesota.

“Health care personnel set an example for all of us and help to boost public confidence in vaccines,” Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Melanie Swift said.

On Wednesday morning, doctors from the Mayo Clinic reiterated that they believe the vaccines will be safe and effective. With a limited supply to start, they are currently making their own decisions about which employees will get vaccinated first.

“At Mayo Clinic for example, we are identifying and prioritizing based upon occupational risk,” Swift said.

Mayo is still encouraging a “community of immunity,” which includes taking precautions until COVID is under control.

“We will have to wear masks until we have evidence to say that transmission has gone down enough to stop doing any of that,” Dr. Abinash Virk said.

The FDA is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday. With two people in the U.K. having allergic reactions after taking the vaccine, doctors at Mayo said they are prepared to treat anyone with a history of allergic reactions who wants to be vaccinated.

John Lauritsen