COVID-19 vaccinations begin at Minnesota nursing homes

Monday marked another step forward in the fight against COVID-19 as the next wave of vaccinations began at long-term care facilities in Minnesota. 

Until now, front line health care workers have been the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Starting Monday, that group expanded to include the most vulnerable population in Minnesota. To date, residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities have accounted for nearly 4% of Minnesota’s COVID-19 cases, but more than 71% of the state’s deaths, according to the latest state Department of Health data. 

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CVS and Walgreens have confirmed their plans to begin administering both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in long-term care facilities this week through the Pharmacy Partnership Program. CVS alone said it is working with 600 long-term care facilities in Minnesota, although it has not said how many they would get to in the first week. 

Each vaccine requires a second dose several weeks later and is not a replacement for COVID-safe practices. 

Health experts say it will likely take the entire month of January to vaccinate residents and staff at all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Minnesota. By February, the next wave of vaccinations would include essential workers along with people 75 years and older.

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While the vast majority of long-term facilities are receiving the vaccine through the Pharmacy Partnership Program, there are a select few in rural Minnesota that received the vaccine through the MDH’s hub system.