MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Health care workers at the Minneapolis VA hospital got their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

Since their first dose three weeks ago, state health officials report that more than 78,000 Minnesotans have gotten at least their first dose. But that does not include any of the more than 82,000 COVID vaccines that have been sent to nursing homes and assisted living facilities via a federal pharmacy program.

Kris Ehresmann is the director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Infectious Disease, Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division.

(credit: CBS)

“Three large pharmacy chains are doing the majority of the work in skilled nursing facilities across the state: Walgreens, CVS and Thrifty White,” Ehresmann said. “Once vaccine has been diverted from the state to this federal program, the pharmacy chains take over and schedule and administer vaccines to residents and workers in skilled nursing facilities.”

Minnesota is still in its first phase of the vaccine rollout, which include health care workers and long-term care facility residents. MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the state has enough vaccines to take care of all of the phase 1A health care workers.

“We think it’s gonna take the majority of January to get through all the parts of phase 1A,” Malcolm said.

So far, the state has received about 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and close to 128,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Ehresmann says the state is on track with its rollout compared to states of similar size.

“Minnesota chose to receive final instructions from the FDA, and ensure adequate training before allowing vaccine to be administered,” Ehresmann said.

MDH says there are no reports of wasted or spoiled vaccines during the distribution process in Minnesota.

Kate Raddatz