MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The process of getting the COVID-19 vaccine into arms has been confusing, and WCCO has been getting a lot of questions from viewers about the rollout in Minnesota.
The state is currently finishing up vaccinations for health care workers and long term care residents in phase 1A. We are currently in phase 1B, which includes people 65 and older, educators, and child care providers.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: MDH Reports 813 New Cases, 8 Deaths
WCCO had a chance to ask the state health department about how they’re prioritizing who gets the vaccine first.
Minnesota Department of Health infectious disease expert Kris Ehresmann says the state is given guidelines from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to prioritize COVID-19 vaccine recipients.
“We took that guidance and refined it for Minnesota and … did tiering because obviously we can’t do everyone at the same time,” she said.
Originally people 75 and up and educators were prioritized in 1B, but in January the federal government encouraged states to modify the age cutoff to those 65 and over. That means 1.1 million Minnesotans are currently eligible to get vaccinated.READ MORE: 62 Minnesotans Learn Their First COVID Vaccine Doses Were Mistakenly Diluted
The state decided to vaccinate as many as people possible in those groups before defining the next 1B tier. State health officials plan to release more information on that in the next week.
“The landscape has changed a fair since we started this whole process back in December,” Ehresmann said.
It was only last week the CDC said teachers did not need to be vaccinated in order to get students back into the classroom. Now federal officials are saying the vaccine supply should soon ramp up.
Online the Minnesota Department of Health lists clinics that are offering the vaccine. You can then go to the providers’ websites to find out who is currently eligible to get one.
“All of our partners in vaccination have been working really hard to make vaccine available to Minnesotans, but we just don’t have enough, and not everyone can be first,” Ehresmann said.MORE NEWS: Gov. Walz Calls Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine A 'Game-Changer' After FDA Approval
Federal guidelines say that anyone under 65 with underlying health conditions should be prioritized in the next phase.