COVID in Minnesota: 1 year of vaccines, expanded testing for holidays

State officials are encouraging Minnesotans to celebrate as safely as they can this holiday season. Here’s an information guide to getting tested, vaccinated, and boosted in Minnesota to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


The state’s health officials and providers gathered for a news conference Thursday to commemorate the one-year anniversary since coronavirus vaccines were first administered in Minnesota. 

Many of them highlighted the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible, and taking COVID safety precautions (social distancing, wearing masks, getting tested), especially as gatherings increase during the holiday season.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm thanked health care providers and partners for their tireless vaccination efforts across the state.

"We also recognize that this pandemic is not over," said Malcolm. "Our partners reminded us of how critical it is for people to get vaccinated, get boosted, and use other known prevention strategies to slow the spread and prevent further hospitalizations and deaths from this virus."

The anniversary comes days after the state marked a grim milestone of more than 10,000 deaths due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccine statistics in Minnesota

After thanking health care providers and partners for their hard work, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm highlighted some of the state’s COVID vaccine statistics. In the last year:

  • At least 8.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in Minnesota
  • More than 3.4 million Minnesotans have completed their vaccine series, including more than 93% of people ages 65 and older and more than 75% of people ages 18 and older
  • 25% of children ages 5-11 have gotten at least one vaccine dose within the first month of pediatric doses becoming available

The state has also made efforts to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines for more affected, harder-to-reach communities. Malcolm said collaborations with local public health, community and tribal partners have resulted in:

  • 369 state-sponsored community vaccination events, including 56 events at schools
  • 12 semi-permanent vaccination locations, opened as community need and demand arose
  • More than 548,000 vaccine doses administered
  • 600 vaccination events for diverse communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • 93% of nursing home residents fully vaccinated


The state’s COVID-19 community testing sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul will open two hours early and expanding its daily test capacity starting December 20, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Thursday.

Along with increased testing in the Twin Cities, the state is adding testing days to the community testing site in Duluth. COVID-19 tests in Minnesota are free, with or without insurance. Here are the adjustments:

Minneapolis at the Convention Center – Expanding Holiday Hours

  • December 20-23: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • December 27–30: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • January 3: 11 a.m. –6 p.m.
  • January 4-7: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Return to regular hours week of January 10

Duluth at the DECC – Adding Two Extra Days

  • Adding Monday, December 20: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Adding Monday, December 27: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Return to regular hours January 3

Saint Paul at Roy Wilkins Auditorium – Expanding Holiday Hours

  • December 20–23:  9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • December 27–30: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • January 3 – 6: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (January 3 in Exhibit Hall; January 4-6 in Ballroom)
  • Return to regular hours week of January 10

Appointments are strongly encouraged. Walk-ins are available. Locations and hours of all the state’s community testing sites can be found here.


How families can find a shot for their child:

  • Visit to find clinic locations near you.
  • Check with their pediatrician, family medicine clinic, or local pharmacy about appointments.
  • Watch for vaccination clinics being offered at schools or other community locations around Minnesota.

How Minnesotans can get their free shot:

  • Use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you.
  • Check for vaccine appointments at, where you can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).
  • Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.
  • Walk in to or make an appointment at one of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination sites.
  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline: 1-833-431-2053, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. & Sat., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test:

Who should get a booster shot:

  • All Minnesotans age 16 and older should get a booster when they are due: six months after receiving Pfizer and Moderna, and two months after Johnson & Johnson.


Governor Tim Walz also announced Thursday that the federal government’s emergency staffing support at two Minnesota hospitals will continue through late January after he requested an extension in a letter to the White House this week.

The two teams from the Department of Defense arrived in November to support staff at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital.

Minnesota hospitals continue to face high caseloads and worker shortage. Earlier this month, a third team arrived to help staff at Southdale Hospital in Edina for at least two weeks.