Gov. Says MN Ranks 5th In Nation For Vaccination RateBy Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As March begins in Minnesota, over 900,000 people in the state have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The Minnesota Department of Health said the state will receive just over 45,000 doses of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.

READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: Nearly 67% Of Minnesotans 16+ Have Received A Vaccine Shot

“Which means they should be in arms Friday to Monday,” Gov. Tim Walz said.

Meanwhile, health officials on Monday reported 636 more virus cases and three more deaths.

According to the update from the Minnesota Department of Health, there have been about a total of 485,000 COVID-19 cases discovered in the state since the pandemic began nearly one year ago. A vast majority of those people who contracted the virus, about 471,600 of them, have recovered and no longer need isolation.

The state’s death toll is now 6,486, with about 63% of those deaths occurring in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Last week, Walz said the state plans on vaccinating 70% of seniors in the state, with at least one dose, by the end of March before expanding vaccine eligibility. As of Feb. 27, nearly 53% of those 65 years of age and older have had at least one vaccine dose.

“We’re getting these doses out the door right away to ensure vaccines get into arms as quickly as possible,” said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use days after the governor announced a new timeline on the vaccine rollout.

He said it’s possible things could speed up with the new vaccine.

READ MORE: COVID Community Test Sites In Mpls., St. Paul, Bloomington To Close By End Of The Week

“That was not factored in and again, I think the good news on this Johnson & Johnson vaccine is it’s one dose,” Walz said.

On Monday, Walz said that Minnesota ranks fifth in the nation for vaccinations.

In total, nearly 1.4 million vaccine doses have been administered in Minnesota. More than 900,000 people have received at least one vaccine dose and 467,300 have completed the two-dose vaccine series.

Sunday, the state reported a record high 70,000 vaccines were administered in a single day on Saturday.

“I think it’s a credit to the system was built up, they communicate together. Now that we see and have a better sight picture of what’s coming to Minnesota, those are able to get out very quickly,” Walz said.

The state now gets a three-week notice on supply from Pfizer and Moderna, with a goal of administering 90% of the vaccines shipped within three days, which they’re currently meeting.

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The state’s positivity rate, a seven-day average, is 3.6% as of Feb. 18, due to data lag.

Kate Raddatz