Minnesota could offer shots to 70% of seniors sooner than end of March, MDH says

Minnesota health officials reported Tuesday that 908,590 Minnesotans have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 472,789 are fully vaccinated, which is roughly 16% and 9% of the state’s population respectively. 

Over 53% of Minnesota seniors now have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Health data. MDH data is accurate as of Feb. 28, as reporting lags by a few days. 

VACCINE TIMELINE: Find out when you will get your COVID-19 vaccine

Minnesota is now fourth in the nation for the percent of its vaccine supply that has been administered, according to Bloomberg. Minnesota has administered approximately 89.4% of its supply. 

MDH said 161,010 more Minnesotans will get access to a COVID-19 vaccine this week. The state's weekly vaccine allocation includes 45,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the weekend.

Minnesota's allocation of first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remains at 115,810, unchanged from last week.

Health officials do not know Minnesota's J&J vaccine allocation for future weeks, however, as manufacturing of that vaccine is in flux. On Tuesday morning, the White House announced drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce J&J's vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly
Gov. Tim Walz has said he will expand vaccine eligibility to more groups once 70% of seniors have at one dose, which Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm now says could be sooner than the end of March. "We have every hope that we may be able to accelerate" the vaccine timeline based on supply, Malcolm said Tuesday. 

Minnesotans are encouraged to sign up on the state’s Vaccine Connector website to be notified when they are eligible for a vaccine. 

443 new COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths reported Tuesday

Meanwhile, MDH reported 443 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday out of 10,915 tests—a 4.1% positivity rate. Minnesota’s 7-day rolling average test positivity rate is now 3.5%. Anything over 5% is a concern for MDH. 

Minnesota has now seen 485,655 COVID-19 cases since the first infection was reported in the state last March. There are currently nearly 6,700 active cases of COVID-19 in the state. Over 97% of the state’s cases have recovered to the point where the infected person no longer needs to be isolated from others. 

MDH also reported four more deaths attributed to COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll from the coronavirus to 6,490. 

Three of the deaths reported on Tuesday were in the Twin Cities metro. One of the people who died was a resident of a long-term care or assisted living facility. The age range of the newly reported deaths was 75-99 years old.

Over 89% of Minnesota’s COVID-19 have been people 65 or older and nearly 63% have been people who lived in long-term care or assisted living facilities. 

A total of 243 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota, up 13 from the day before. Of those, 57 are in the ICU.